Literary Maps & Fantastic Landscapes

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Fantastic Landscapes and Literary Maps

Video Review

Today’s video is all about literary maps and books that explore the real and imaginary landscapes of our favourite novels in detail.

List of Books

The Writer’s Map 

Editor: Huw Lewis Jones
Publication: 2018
Where to buy: The Writer’s Map @ Book Depository orAmazon (US)

About the book: This is probably my favourite of all of this type of book in my collection. This magnificent atlas of imaginary lands is a collection of essays by and about writers, and it is packed full of large glorious full colour illustrations. The essays cover not only maps that appear in the books, but also writer’s sketches, notes by map illustrators, and real-life locations that inspired them. The maps explored range from adventure books to fantasy novels and even comics and nursery rhymes.

The prologue by Philip Pullman recounts the experience of drawing a map as he set out on one of his early novels, The Tin Princess. Cressida Cowell explains the inspiration from maps of numerous children’s books when drawing her maps in How to Train Your Dragon. Miraphora Mina recalls the creative challenge of drawing up ”The Marauder’s Map” for the Harry Potter films. David Mitchell leads us to the Mappa Mundi by way of Cloud Atlas and his own sketch maps. And Daniel Reeve shares his fascinating history of making maps for The Lord of The Rings.

Literary Landscapes

Editor: John Sutherland
Published: 2018
Where to buy:  Literary Landscapes @ Book Depository or Amazon (US)

This book charts the real-life settings of classic fiction. It covers 73 books in a couple of pages each, including a short biography of the author along with pictures and publication details of the first edition. The text entries discuss how the setting and other attributes of the literary environment influence the story, the characters, and the impact on the reader. It provides very interesting context to a fascinating collection of literature. A word of warning though – the electronic version contains none images so you definitely want to see this in print.

Literary Wonderlands

Editor: Laura Miller
Published: 2016
Where to buy:  Literary Wonderlands @ Book Depository or Amazon (US)

In series with the previous book Literary Wonderlands does the same thing for fictional landscapes. Ranging from Beowulf to Murakami’s 1Q84 , the essays herein discuss the relevance of the writer’s own life to the creation of their worlds, as well as exploring influences from contemporary events and philosophies on their work. Similarly, the ebook version has no illustrations so only the print version is recommended. The lovely covers for the books in this series are by the brilliant Jim Tierney.


Illustrator / Author: Andrew deGraff and Daniel Harmon
Published: 2015
Where to buy:  Plotted @ Book Depository or Amazon (US)

This is an eclectic collection offering landscape maps of literary classics that – according to the illustrator – seek to create “a sense of contour, sometimes literal and sometimes metaphorical”. The maps range from tracing the movements of Odysseus around the Mediterranean, to the path walked by Hamlet through the rooms of Elsinore castle, to the romantic journey of the characters in Pride and Prejudice.


Illustrator / Author: Andrew deGraff and A. D. Jameson
Published: 2017
Where to buy:  Cinemaps @ Book Depository or Amazon (US)

The same artist also created an atlas called “Cinemaps” which does the same thing for classic movies, for example charting the “paths of true love” from The Princess Bride. Unfortunately I found the colour reproductions a little muddy in this volume, but they are interesting interpretations nonetheless.

Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earth

Editor: John Sutherland
Published: 2018
Where to buy:  Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earth @ Book Depository or Amazon (US)

This volume offers a fascinating look into the creative process of the man who famously once wrote “I wisely started with a map and made the story fit”. The book includes essays on a number of different themes, including on the concept of “Faerie” as an enchanted literary realm, and the influence of his visual imagination in mapping The Lord of the Rings.v

The Maps of Tolkien’s Middle Earth

Illustrator / Author : John Howe and Brian Sibley
Where to buy:  Maps of Middle Earth @ Book Depository or Amazon (US)

Tolkien’s Maps of The Hobbit, Beleriend, Númenor and Middle Earth are beautifully presented in a box-set exquisitely illustrated by John Howe (a conceptual designer for the blockbuster films directed by Peter Jackson). Accompanied by a book describing in detail the importance and evolution of geography within Tolkien’s epic fiction

Redwall Map and Riddler

Redwall Riddler

Editor: Brian Jacques
Status: Out of print
Where to buy: Redwall Riddler @ Abes

A fold-out map of the territory of the Redwall novels, together with a booklet full of riddles referring to the landmarks, secret places and battle grounds. 

The Compleat Atlas of Discworld and other maps

Author: Terry Pratchett
Where to buy: Discworld Atlas @ Book Depository 
or Amazon (US)

A detailed ‘compleat’ geography of the Discworld, with a pullout map.

Inlcudes a witty travel guide brought to you by The Ankh-Morpork Guild of Trespassers and Unseen University Press. Each atlas boasts full colour plate maps, illustrations and a comprehensive gazetteer, all accompanied by a giant double-sided map featuring a magnificent vision of The World Turtle A’Tuin and detailed delineation of the Disc on the reverse.

Compleat Ankh-Morpork City Guide

Author: Terry Pratchett
Where to buy:  Compleat Ankh-Morpork @ Book Depository or Amazon (US)

A ‘compleat’ guide to Discworld’s most fragrant city, with a pullout map. 

This comprehensive atlas encompasses all the streets of Ankh-Morpork, as well as information on its principal businesses, hotels, taverns, inns, and places of entertainment and refreshment, as well as features on guilds and institutions, plus detailed colour plates of the Shades and environs, along with a wealth of humorous advertisements from Ankh-Morpork’s renowned merchants and traders. At the heart of each book is a large double-sided  pull-out map measuring 95 x 85cm, featuring a detailed plan of all known streets, cuts and alleys on one side, while the reverse bears an illustration offering an unrivalled view of the city.

Streets of Ankh-Morpork Mapp

Author: Terry Pratchett
Illustrator: Stephen Player
Where to buy: Streets of Ankh-Morpork @ Book Depository or Amazon (US)

A brief guide and map of the fictional city of Ankh-Morpork in Discworld. It’s all here – from Unseen University to the Shades, from major landmarks like the Patrician’s Palace to little-known nooks like Dwarf Bread Museum in Whirligig Alley.

The Discworld Mapp

Author: Terry Pratchett
Illustrator: Stephen Player
Where to buy:  Discworld Mapp @ Book Depository or Amazon (US)

Contains a large, fold out map of the Discworld along with a short booklet relating the adventures and explorers of the Disc and their discoveries.

Tourist Guide to Lancre

Author: Terry Pratchett, Stephen Briggs
Illustrator: Paul Kidby
Where to buy: Tourist Guide to Lancre @ Book Depository or Amazon (US)

The Mapp shows the mountain country of Lancre, with the Ramtops portrayed via a high perspective shot, rather than as a relief diagram. The accompanying booklet details the history, geography and folklore of the country, with contributions from both Gytha Ogg (anticipating the style of Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook) and Eric Wheelbrace, the Discworld’s most famous hillwalker.

Death’s Domain

Author: Terry Pratchett
Illustrator: Paul Kidby
Where to buy:  Death’s Domain @ Book Depository or Amazon (US)

The Mapp shows the parasite universe of Death’s Domain. The accompanying booklet provides various details of the Domain, both as portrayed in the Discworld books and with new revelations.

The Marauder’s Map

Author: J. K. Rowling 
Illustrator: MinaLima
Where to buy:  Marauder’s Map @ Amazon (US)

I’ve seen several versions of The Marauder’s Map, but my favourite by far is the one published by The Noble Collection, which is the most true to the version you see in the movie. Folded up, this is still a large map at 15.5 x 8.25 inches, but it unfolds out fully to 6 feet long. It’s printed on heavy parchment paper and contains lots of little ‘secret panels’ to unfold to reveal hidden details.


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