The Huntington

Roam Among Famous Fictional Maps at The Huntington

Several stunning charts, taken from a host of celebrated books, will go on display at the San Marino destination.

© The Huntington

What to Know

  • "Mapping Fiction" at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens; look for special events related to the exhibition, too
  • Jan. 15-May 2, 2022
  • With admission; reservations are required on weekends and holidays

Reaching The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens?

If you've never visited the San Marino landmark before, chances are good that you'd consult a map of some sort, a clear set of directions that delineate your starting point, the streets you need to journey along, and, ultimately and all-importantly, The Huntington's address (that would be 1151 Oxford Road).

A map, in short, is a rather important tool, a timeless device, be it on paper or a screen, that takes the trickiness out of our travels.

Like we real-world humans, literary characters have also found a lot to like in maps, even if the sometimes surreal surveys they're consulting aren't all that recognizable to the reader.

The Huntington will celebrate some of literature's most acclaimed, creative, and unusual atlases, all by gathering several of the priceless maps in the museum's vast and august collection of documents and books.

Those treasures will be on display for over three months as part of "Mapping Fiction," an exhibition that delves into the imaginary places authors so memorably create.

The centennial of "Ulysses," the James Joyce masterwork, is one prompt for this fascinating event, which will feature "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."

A first edition of "Ulysses" will also be part of the presentation.

Other maps will include a J.R.R. Tolkien map from "The Lord of the Rings," a Robert Louis Stevenson map from "Treasure Island," and Octavia E. Butler's maps for "Parable of the Talents" and "Parable of the Trickster," the author's unpublished novel.

A number of special events scheduled to take place at The Huntington will complement the exhibition, including a chance for families to try out map-inspired board games. There's also a happening devoted to the literary tourism found in our own storied city, the Los Angeles of Chandler, Bradbury, and beyond.

Those in-person happenings will take place later in the winter and spring, including two events considering Octavia E. Butler's connections to her hometown of Pasadena. Those will happen not far from The Huntington, at the La Pinturesca Branch of the Pasadena Public Library.

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