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Maps of the Imaginationby Peter Turchi
Synopses & Reviews
What can German globe makers, British cartographers, the Marx brothers, and Roadrunner cartoons tell us about writers from Sappho to Italo Calvino? According to fiction writer Peter Turchi, both cartographers and writers draw from the same well of creativity, curiosity, and adventuresome spirit. "To ask for a map," says Turchi, "is to say, 'Tell me a story.'"
In Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer, Turchi takes readers on a delightful journey that explores cartography's and writing's many parallels. For example, Turchi explores the challenges of blank space and the blank page, the role of geometry in maps and of formal devices in writing, the goals of exploration and challenges of presentation, and the balance of intuition with intention. Each idea is richly illustrated with maps, drawings and other illustrations
"With a knowing and often witty voice, Turchi, who directs the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College near Asheville, has brought together wide-ranging sources to create an inspiring book of writing instruction. Avoiding the pedantic prescription of many writing how-to's, he shows through analogy and example." The Charlotte Observer
"It's not uncommon to compare the writing of a story to the mapping of a world, but no one has so fully, or so seductively and rewardingly, performed as extended a meditation on this illuminating metaphor as Turchi." Booklist
"Illustrations of all imaginable types of maps, plus entertaining epigraphs to each section, add to the collage of textures in this extensive (yet, considering its contents, surprisingly compact) volume. My favorite set of epigraphs, by the way, Saul Bellow's 'perhaps, being lost, one should get loster,' follwoed by Dean Young's 'perhaps, being lost, one should get lobster.'" Speakeasy
Maps of the Imagination takes us on a magic carpet ride over terrain both familiar and exotic. Using the map as a metaphor, fiction writer Peter Turchi considers writing as a combination of exploration and presentation, all the while serving as an erudite and charming guide. He compares the way a writer leads a reader though the imaginary world of a story, novel, or poem to the way a mapmaker charts the physical world. "To ask for a map," says Turchi, "is to say, Tell me a story. "
With intelligence and wit, the author looks at how mapmakers and writers deal with blank space and the blank page; the conventions they use or consciously disregard; the role of geometry in maps and the parallel role of form in writing; how both maps and writing serve to re-create an individuals view of the world; and the artists delicate balance of intuition with intention.
A unique combination of history, critical cartography, personal essay, and practical guide to writing, Maps of the Imagination is a book for writers, for readers, and for anyone interested in creativity. Colorful illustrations and Turchis insightful observations make his book both beautiful and a joy to read.
Drawing on texts as varied as poetry, novels, and cartoons, Turchi explores how writers and cartographers use many of the same devices for plotting and executing their work. Tracing the history of maps, he then relates what writers do in projecting a literary work from the imagination onto the page.
About the Author
Peter Turchi is the Director of the M.F.A. Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He is the author of the novel The Girls Next Door and the story collection Magician, and the coeditor, with Andrea Barrett, of The Story Behind the Story: 26 Stories by Contemporary Writers and How They Work and, with Charles Baxter, of Bringing the Devil to His Knees: The Craft of Fiction and the Writing Life.
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