Sunday, March 8, 2009

Literary Map

The Portland Press Herald has a map of Maine authors on its site. It's fun to see the state's familiar shape dotted with pleasures not depicted on the Delorme Atlas.

http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/news/literarymap/map.html

Cathie Pelletier holds down the north, Gladys Hasty Carroll the south. Farthest east is Sarah Graves, farthest west Louise Dickinson Rich. I've read none of these women's novels, and they're now on the scribbled list I carry in my wallet and consult in the library.

A very large percentage of the authors are women, including the two greatest of them all, Elisabeth Ogilvie and Sarah Orne Jewett, on the mid-coast. Eliz(s)abeth is a popular name (Coatsworth, Gilbert, Ogilvie, Speare, Strout).

The map being Google-ized, it offers directions to and from...it's not quite clear to and from what. I asked how to get from (A) Newton, MA to the icon marked Carolyn Chute. The result (B) was a long set of numbers, longitude and latitude, I assume, described as Merrill Hill Road in North Parsonfield, and a very eerie and somewhat alarming photograph of a lonely intersection, presumably Merrill Hill Road. Is this where Chute lives? Or the Beans? Who took the photo? Who decided which exact geographic point represented her or her book? Is this art becoming life?

Other than the Google intrusions on literary dreams, it's a wonderful and inspiring list. Thank you, Press Herald, for many pleasurable hours to come.

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