From Atlantis to Xanadu and beyond, this Baedeker of make believe takes readers on a tour of than , realms invented by storytellers from Homer s day to our own Here you will find Shangri La and El Dorado Utopia and Middle Earth Wonderland and Freedonia Here too are Jurassic Park, Salman Rushdie s Sea of Stories, and the fabulous world of Harry Potter The history and behavior of the inhabitants of these lands are described in loving detail, and are supplemented by thanmaps and illustrations that depict the lay of the land in a host of elsewheres A must have for the library of every dedicated reader, fantasy fan, or passionate browser, Dictionary is a witty and acute guide for any armchair traveler s journey into the landscape of the imagination


10 thoughts on “The Dictionary of Imaginary Places: The Newly Updated and Expanded Classic

  1. Rob Rob says:

    More of a novelty than anything else, the Dictionary of Imaginary Places is just that a big fat alphabetized compendium of places that exist only in legends and myths and novels and other stories It s the kind of book that aspiring novelists put on their coffee tables to impress other aspiring hipster novelists What s with all those sticky notes and penciled in remarks Oh, you know Research Annotations And this whole sheet stuffed in there I was trying to see what it would look like More of a novelty than anything else, the Dictionary of Imaginary Places is just that a big fat alphabetized compendium of places that exist only in legends and myths and novels and other stories It s the kind of book that aspiring novelists put on their coffee tables to impress other aspiring hipster novelists What s with all those sticky notes and penciled in remarks Oh, you know Research Annotations And this whole sheet stuffed in there I was trying to see what it would look like with my Imaginary Place in there It s a good time And a bit of a guilty pleasure And it s useful if you need to quickly brush up on who resides at Locus Solus, or the location of Valinor in relation to Middle earth, or which countries surround Oz But if you want to get in depth, best to put down the Dictionary and dig into primary sources


  2. Megan Vaughan Megan Vaughan says:

    This is an absolutely fabulous book for anyone of any age If you re capable of letting your mind wander to far off and completely fictional places, you ll be entranced immediately Its the kind of thing you read a few pages of before bed to ensure charming and enchanting dreams.


  3. Chris Chris says:

    I fell upon this book when it was first published like a punter attacking an ice cream during the interval in an over hot theatre Just the title had me drooling, and once inside the book I was in seventh heaven First of all it took places described in a range of literary works as literally true by giving each a Baedeker style travel guide entry Then, like any good Baedeker it provided maps and charts giving visual aids to familiar and unfamiliar locations There have been at least two revised I fell upon this book when it was first published like a punter attacking an ice cream during the interval in an over hot theatre Just the title had me drooling, and once inside the book I was in seventh heaven First of all it took places described in a range of literary works as literally true by giving each a Baedeker style travel guide entry Then, like any good Baedeker it provided maps and charts giving visual aids to familiar and unfamiliar locations There have been at least two revised editions since 1980 but this was the first attempt to give an overview of dystopias, utopias, fantasy worlds and comic geographies from different cultures, languages and centuries The mock seriousness is sometimes leavened with equally tongue in cheek humour though I found that at times the terseness of some entries could be wearing.Just a few examples of entries, almost at random, may give you a flavour Bluebeard s Castle, for example is described as somewhere in France the exact location remains unknown The castle is famed for its many riches and fine furniture, tapestries and full length mirrors with frames of gold Travellers in particular female ones should proceed with caution Some places are in distant lands, such as King Solomon s Mines, discovered by Allan Quatermain s expedition to Kukuanaland, Africa, in 1884 , or Shangri La, which can only be reached on foot and visitors are infrequent In contrast Ruritania is a European kingdom reached by train from Dresden while Wonderland is a kingdom under England, inhabited by a pack of cards and a few other creatures Here you can find entries for Atlantis and Oz, Camelot and Treasure Island, Middle Earth and Erewhon, Arkham and Hyperborea, Lilliput and Gormenghast, plus a plethora ofobscure places culled from evenobscure titles Graham Greenfield s wonderful line drawings have an antique quality about them which only adds to the sense of strangeness and wonder, while the maps and charts by James Cook are a joy to peruse and explore Some maps from 1980 needed revision Narnia, for example, had some crucial omissions and misplacements , but their consistent olde worlde look with hachures rather than contour lines, for instance, and Renaissance style typefaces is charming and lends character to the whole presentation.In addition to the alphabetical listing of places, the authors include an index of authors and titles to help you cross reference For example, if you can t remember some of the cities visited by Marco Polo in Italo Calvino s Invisible Cities they are handily included here Which only helps to underscore thatThe Dictionary of Imaginary Places is a treasure chest to dip into again and again.http wp.me s2oNj1 places


  4. Marvin Marvin says:

    One of my favorite books for browsing An inexhaustible index of imaginary lands in literature from The Grand Duchy of Fenwick to Burrough s Pellucidar to Carroll s Wonderland Many entries are illustrated with maps and all come with detailed descriptions of the lands The fact that the writers treat these entries like they are real places that you may travel to, simply lends a delightful air in the enjoyment of this book I ve had this book since its first publication in 1987 and I never fail t One of my favorite books for browsing An inexhaustible index of imaginary lands in literature from The Grand Duchy of Fenwick to Burrough s Pellucidar to Carroll s Wonderland Many entries are illustrated with maps and all come with detailed descriptions of the lands The fact that the writers treat these entries like they are real places that you may travel to, simply lends a delightful air in the enjoyment of this book I ve had this book since its first publication in 1987 and I never fail to find something new each time I pick it up


  5. Julia Julia says:

    This is the book that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends This is truly how I felt in the last couple of days as I was trying to finish reading it before New Year Even my husband was trying to figure out what was going on when I would tell him I basically had the same number of pages to finish even though I had been reading it non stop for two hours As for the actual places within it I noticed that there were two different categories The first were fictional places that everyone This is the book that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends This is truly how I felt in the last couple of days as I was trying to finish reading it before New Year Even my husband was trying to figure out what was going on when I would tell him I basically had the same number of pages to finish even though I had been reading it non stop for two hours As for the actual places within it I noticed that there were two different categories The first were fictional places that everyone already knows aboutor less The second were fantastical accounts of someone who got shipwrecked while making a record of it As a result the book was very unbalanced The fantastical places were everything that you would think from the serial authors of the day Oz, Tarzan and the other series from the same author, Narnia, Middle Earth, Doctor Dolittle, Earth Sea, etc And there were occasionally other smaller fantastical or horror settings included such as a few from H.P Lovecraft, Toad Hall, Baskerville and Babar s Kingdom All of these were places thator less I had heard about although Cthulthu s abode surprisingly wasn t mentioned for H.P and amazingly they included Edgar Allen Poe As such there was an over abundance of information in some cases while in the example of Beast s Castle there was barely any information provided For the secondary group those were the places I was actually surprised they did include since I hadn t heard of most of them The title of their books and or manuscripts was a whole summary in itself while basically they were all repeats of each other with a few details changed I guess to make it a bitauthentic Most of these locations were deeply looked into and as a result the reader got to see what the narrator believed about Socialism, religion, Communism, gender reversal, etc These were the spots that made me want to go bury my head in the sand since they were all so preachy, man is coming to an end and a doorway to vice since who cares if you are incestuous as long as you are the only ones on your island As a result the telling of the entries was quite unbalanced depending upon their category that entry fell into Further the main sources for an entry were given in their native language so there were a lot of hard to pronounce foreign books In this instance I wish they had translated it to English while including a notes page in the back for the actual language Locations unknown was quite common and so suggestions for what you should do as a visitor was a bit of a joke in these cases Others just chose to give you a location but didn t think of including you as a guest All in all for those who may like to armchair travel it may be a decent read if you don t mind the wordiness For those who enjoymodern travel spots like Red Wall, Pippi s Island and so manyyou will be quite disappointed in their missing from the pages Then again you also have to take into consideration that they may not have been published before this came out


  6. John Robinson John Robinson says:

    If you re like me and you hate going to the internet whenever you read about Graustark or Islandiathis is the book for you It s a phonebook sized compendium of every fantastic land More recent updates include Hogwarts Worth buying for the entry on Oz alone Probably not worth paying full price for, but usually fairly easy to find in used bookstores


  7. Matt Matt says:

    A quick look through this book makes it one I will keep on my desk for reference.


  8. Emily Emily says:

    I first got the 1987 edition of this book as a gift from my uncle in the mid nineties, and it has since been one of my favorite volumes to idly peruse Though it contains lengthy entries on the most frequently visited of imaginary places, such as Middle earth, Earthsea, and Oz, its entries on less familiar regions such as Sylvia Townsend Warner s Kingdoms of Elfin are welcome, and this updated edition includes such recently explored places as Hogwarts and Neverwhere.This work was my first introd I first got the 1987 edition of this book as a gift from my uncle in the mid nineties, and it has since been one of my favorite volumes to idly peruse Though it contains lengthy entries on the most frequently visited of imaginary places, such as Middle earth, Earthsea, and Oz, its entries on less familiar regions such as Sylvia Townsend Warner s Kingdoms of Elfin are welcome, and this updated edition includes such recently explored places as Hogwarts and Neverwhere.This work was my first introduction to Arkham, Gormenghast, and Erewhon, and inspired me to find each source work I ve found it both a useful reference as well as fine pleasure reading due to Manguel and Guadalupi s jovial prose, which treats each place as if the reader might really be planning to travel there in the near future


  9. Hannah Hannah says:

    I m so tickled by the existence of this book The title pretty much sums it up this is an encyclopedia of imaginary places ranging from the fantastical Middle Earth, Narnia, Wonderland to therealistic Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe s island, Xanadu In fact, this dictionary is worth looking at just for the extensive descriptions of Middle Earth and Narnia The authors treat every location as though it actually exists, which is part of the fun of reading it There are also some wond I m so tickled by the existence of this book The title pretty much sums it up this is an encyclopedia of imaginary places ranging from the fantastical Middle Earth, Narnia, Wonderland to therealistic Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe s island, Xanadu In fact, this dictionary is worth looking at just for the extensive descriptions of Middle Earth and Narnia The authors treat every location as though it actually exists, which is part of the fun of reading it There are also some wonderful maps especially the Wonderland one The only downside is that my copy is outdated and doesn t contain some of therecent fantastical locations that have popped up in fiction, such as Hogwarts


  10. Douglas Summers-Stay Douglas Summers-Stay says:

    It s not really a dictionary some parts are written like a tour guide, othersof an atlas The entries describe locations from fantasy novels, from Gulliver s travels through Harry Potter I noticed it included a few of Calvino s invisible cities, and some lands that Borges described, which is appropriate for such a Borgesian enterprise The maps and illustrations are well done It s a fun way to browse for new things to read If you re willing to put up with an older edition no Hogwarts It s not really a dictionary some parts are written like a tour guide, othersof an atlas The entries describe locations from fantasy novels, from Gulliver s travels through Harry Potter I noticed it included a few of Calvino s invisible cities, and some lands that Borges described, which is appropriate for such a Borgesian enterprise The maps and illustrations are well done It s a fun way to browse for new things to read If you re willing to put up with an older edition no Hogwarts , you can find it for just a few bucks