MAP: Mapping St. Petersburg

Mapping St. Petersburg

Mapping St. Petersburg (here) is the creation of University of Virginia Russian Literature Professor Julian Connolly. The map includes locations from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and The Double. Additionally, the map has markers for several of Dostoevsky’s homes, locations connected to author Vladimir Nabokov, and examples of significant architectural works ranging from the Baroque to the Modern period.

While the content extends somewhat beyond the literary focus that most of the maps we have reviewed have, the basic layout is similar to several others we have seen. Built on Google Maps, the project has a familiar base layer with several colorful pins indicating locations. Clicking on a pin opens a sidebar that contains at least one image and descriptions about the locations.

In the case of locations from Dostoevsky’s works, each entry includes a short description, an observation about the location in the text, and quotation. The entries for literary-related or architecturally significant locations typically explain the significance of the place, as with the homes of Dostoevsky and other authors.

The map is surrounded by an attractive if dated–the date at the bottom indicates the map was created in 2007–black wrapper with an image of Dostoevsky and set of navigation tabs for “Literature” and “Architecture”. The map is easy enough to use and offers geographic context to some of Dostoevsky’s work and St. Petersburg itself. Like so many of these maps, however, it appears to be another single project begun by a devoted reader who recognized the interesting connection between literature and place that has not thrived beyond its initial conception.

The map does seem to benefit from a genuine familiarity with the city at its focus and many, if not all, of the images seem to have been taken by Professor Connolly himself. When I have researched Russian literary locations from afar, I have struggled to make sense of place names that are not consistently translated to English, a challenge seemingly overcome in this map.

Do you know of any other literary maps that focus on a single city? How about other Russian literary locations? Let us know in the comments below or by sending an email to booma@booma.us.