The Kingdom of Wisdom, the Isle of Knowledge, and other whimsical geographic representations of the human condition
I love maps. There's something about cartography that lends itself to visualizing much more than land and geography. I've previously looked at how the London tube map was appropriated as a visual metaphor for everything from The Milky Way to the Kabbalah, and today we turn to seven cartographic interpretations of the human condition, using the visual vocabulary of classical maps to interpret various facets of the human psyche--a genre that came of age during the late Renaissance, when it became known as "sentimental cartography."
This map by mid-century American cartoonist Jules Feiffer, who illustrated the book, depicts the marvelous land that Milo finds himself in as he follows his own curiosity.
The map is clearly--whether consciously or not--inspired by the Phantom Tollbooth map, which is perfectly fine: With the concept of combinatorial creativity in our DNA, we deeply believe that all creative work is derivative, everything is a remix, and good ideas come from other good ideas.
Image courtesy of Grayson Perry and The Paragon Press via BBC
If you don't sprechen Sie Deutch, here's the gist:
GABIET DER JUGEND = Land of Youth (Forest of Love, Kiss Field, Flirting Game, Charm Castle, Stream of Wishes, Worry-Free, Joy's Home, Beautiful House, Source of Joy, Sweet Look, Wisecrack Place, Rich River, Warning Castle)
GABIET DER RUHE = Land of Rest (Nightcap, Grandfather City, Equanimity, Manly Place)
GABIET DER TRAURENDEN LIEBE = Land of Mourning Love (Anger's Home, Flood of Tears, Whim Mountain, Complaint Place, Hopeless Mountains, Loathing, Strict Place, Swamp of Profanity, Desert of Melancholy)
GABIET DER LUSTE = Land of Lust (Illness Valley, Weak Home, Intoxication Field, Lechery, Hospital)
GABIET DER GLUCKLICHEN LIEBE = Land of Happy Love (Lust Wood, Answered Prayers, Pleasant View, Enjoyment, Tenderness, Good Times, Affection Farm, Satisfaction, Compliance Mountain, Fountain of Joy, Marriage Harbor, Reward City, Peace of Mind, Bliss Town)
GABIET DER HAGESTOLZE = Bachelor Country (Stupidity Town, Rejection Place, Irritation, Indifference, Place of Contempt, Reprehensibility, Old Age Mountains, Separation, Hat, Obstinacy, Wrangler Hall, Exasperation Heath, Hamlet of Death, Sea of Doubt)
GABIET DER FIXEN IDEEN = Land of Obsessions (Place of Sighs, Desire Town, Unrest, City of Dreams, Bridge of Hope, Disloyalty, Sweet River of Tears, Little Town of Instincts)
Many of these maps can be found in these seven must-read books on maps, particularly in the excellent You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination--a treasure trove of imaginary and imaginative cartographic explorations of self-conception.
This post also appears on Brain Pickings.
Images: Courtesy of Brain Pickings
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