Brain Pickings

A Booklover’s Map of Literary Geography circa 1933


On the Bostoncentricity of literature, or what “our first man of letters” has to do with Poe.

Two of my great loves — maps and books — converged on my friend Wendy‘s wall, where I spotted this stunning vintage map of “literary geography.” Titled The Booklovers Map of America Showing Certain Landmarks of Literary Geography and created by pictorial cartographer Paul M. Paine in 1933, the map zooms in on the biggest literary cities and places “The Birthplace of American Literature” squarely in the Boston/Cambridge area.

A few closeups:

With its charmingly unpunctuated, almost stream-of-literary-consciousness text, the map is as much a cartographic treasure as it is an almanac of early twentieth century literary celebrity.

For more unusual, creative, culturally sensitive maps, see these 7 fantastic books of and about maps.

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