ruled paper with notes written on it

Mapping Fiction

Jan. 15, 2022May. 2, 2022
Library, West Hall

“Mapping Fiction” is an exhibition focused on the ways authors and mapmakers have built compelling fictional worlds. On view in the Library’s West Hall, the exhibition is timed to coincide with the centennial of the publication of James Joyce’s groundbreaking 1922 modernist novel, Ulysses.

Drawn entirely from The Huntington’s collections, “Mapping Fiction” includes a first edition of Joyce’s novel and a typescript draft of one of its chapters, cartographically inspired intaglio prints of Dublin as described in the book, other mappings of the novel and the famous texts to which it alludes, and materials related to the annual celebration of Bloomsday in Dublin on June 16—the single day in 1904 during which the novel takes place.

About 70 items will be on view, focused on novels and maps from the 16th through the 20th century—largely early editions of books that include elaborate maps of imaginary worlds. Among the highlights are Lewis Carroll’s 1876 edition of The Hunting of the Snark, Robert Louis Stevenson’s maps from Treasure Island and Kidnapped, J. R. R. Tolkien’s map from the trilogy The Lord of the Rings, and science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler’s hand-drawn maps from notes for Parable of the Talents (1998) and her unpublished novel Parable of the Trickster. In addition to Butler’s archives, the show draws on The Huntington’s archival collections of Jack and Charmian London, Christopher Isherwood, and others, as well as the institution’s rich print holdings in travel narratives, English literature, and the history of science.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the publication of Joyce’s Ulysses, one of the most influential novels of the 20th century, “Mapping Fiction” asks: How might we better understand how novels and maps work by thinking about how they work together?

Related Events

Spatial Theory in “Ulysses” and Post-Colonial Literature
Feb. 2,  2022
7:30 p.m.–9 p.m.
Ato Quayson, the Jean G. and Morris M. Doyle Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies and Professor of English at Stanford, discusses James Joyce’s use of physical space in Ulysses.

Joycean Cartographies: Navigating a New Century of Ulysses
Feb. 2–4, 2022
This academic conference celebrates the centennial of James Joyce’s Ulysses with keynote talks by Ato Quayson, Catherine Flynn, and Karen Tei Yamashita.

Play a Board Game, Build a World
Jan. 22 and Feb. 19, 2022
11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Rose Hills Foundation Garden Court
Calling all board gamers and world builders! Join us for a free family drop-in program filled with games and map-making inspired by the exhibition “Mapping Fiction.” Play map-based board games with friends and family, and have fun creating map prints of your own fictional universe. Meet Karla Nielsen, curator of literary collections, and enjoy a family-friendly curator tour of the exhibition at 12:30 and 2 p.m. Tour reservations are first come, first served, with a limit of 20 people per tour.

Literary Tourism in Los Angeles
March 8, 2022
7:30–9 p.m.
Rothenberg Hall
Katie Orphan, author of Read Me, Los Angeles: Exploring L.A.’s Book Culture (2020) discusses her book and literary tourism in the “City of Angels.”

Revisiting Octavia E. Butler’s Pasadena
March 19 and April 23, 2022
2–3:30 p.m.
In conjunction with “Mapping Fiction,” The Huntington has produced a map of Octavia E. Butler’s Pasadena. Visitors can take a self-guided walking or driving tour of the locations around Pasadena where Butler lived, visited, and often found inspiration. Tour maps will be available online and in the “Mapping Fiction” exhibition gallery. On two Saturdays this spring, Ayana Jamieson, founder of the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network, will lead a moderated conversation about our desire to locate Butler’s Pasadena. Registration information and locations to come.

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