MAP: The Literary Map of Latin America

Literary Map of Latin America

On Booma, we often focus on digital maps, but there is also a long tradition of paper literary maps. Similar to the makers of electronic maps, creators produce these stylistically-varied maps for many reasons. The Literary Map of Latin America, created by Mike Cressy and Molly Maguire in 1988, shows how impressive these maps can be.

The full map can be viewed on the Cornell University Library site. In addition, the David Rumsey Map Collection offers prints for purchase.

The colorful body of a parrot contains the shape of the South American continent. Central America appears on the outstretched wing while Cuba occupies the bird’s crest to complete the region’s depiction. Visual allusions to some of the stories identified on the map also surround the parrot.

Names of countries and cities appear on the map, with numbers dotting the landscape. These numbers refer to the literary locations listed in the right sidebar, grouped under the names of writers, such as Isabelle Allende and Gabriel García Márquez. The locations include where the authors lived, worked, and recreated alongside the settings for some of their most famous works. A close study of the listed locations also reveals other surprises: locations of assassinations and arrests, hinting at the frequent political involvement of Latin American authors.

Aaron Blake Publishers, a Southern California publishing company that released several literary maps between 1984 and 1988, produced the map. An advertisement for their collection of maps encouraged purchasers to “Enjoy the maps for themselves, or use them to plan authentic literary vacations,” and to remember “They’re great gifts for book lovers of all ages!”

I agree! The attractive artwork and the detailed literary content make these excellent wall hangings for a library, study, or classroom.

Do you have any of the Aaron Blake maps? Have you come across any other great paper literary maps? Tell us about them in the comments below or send us an email at booma@booma.us.