Yes – you heard it here first, folks. There is a book that is about how geography and literature are inextricably tied. “Literary Geography” is the concept behind Expedictionary, so finding a book about it is pretty awesome.
It’s called “Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer” and it’s by Peter Turchi, a creative writing professor at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. It’s a pretty quick read, reading kind of like a series of lectures from one of your better professors.
The book itself uses cartography as a lens for analyzing the art of fiction writing, and Turchi does a pretty good job. At points the narrative seems like a series of various anecdotes strung together and the motive and analysis isn’t really in place. Turchi says at the beginning that “at times the leap from figure to ground is left to the reader, while at other times the connection is more clearly drawn” (25). This is a technique of fiction, not analysis. The connective tissue should be present at all times in analysis and should not be inferred. Turchi should know that this is not how you write a well-received thesis, but the book comes off pretty strong otherwise. Somehow I knew most of the references he made, either from my high school geography class or college creative writing studies – though I’m sure that the references won’t be natural for everyone. Despite its logical jumps and casually pretentious language, “Maps of the Imagination” is a good piece on literary geography. I think Expedictionary will keep looking for a text that better addresses the concept of literary geography.
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