Posted by: bluesyemre | June 23, 2022

Map of the #literature

The Map of the Literature is a truly gargantuan visualization of the 5000 years of literary masters and their works, showing how the different literary genres sprouted, branched and eventually evolved to their modern state.

The high-resolution map catalogues over 7000 writers, poets and dramatists and the novels, poems and dramas that they published.

Every dot on the map represents a single author and every small rhombus represents a literary work. The most important and well-known writers of every genre and epoch have their own small “country” dedicated to them, which features their most important works as “cities”

The Map unfolds from its very centre outwards, beginning with the literature of Ancient Sumerians, Akkadians and Egyptians, that forms the very core of what we might regard as a western literary tradition. Closely located are the religious texts of the three major Abrahamic religions, that share many tropes and myths with the middle eastern cultures in whose vicinity it formed.

From the center, we move forwards to the archipelago of the ancient Greek authors, where we can see the early beginnings of the distinct literary forms of prose, poetry, drama and philosophical non-fiction.

Every single of these forms then spirals and branches outwards with the dimensional flow of time, with the map overall being split into several “continental” formations, wholly dedicated to prose (by far the largest), poetry, non-fiction and drama.

The origins of prose begin with the very earliest books ever written, however, it was massively overshadowed by poetry almost everywhere in the world, with poetry being considered a far more artistic and masterful method to convey thoughts and emotions. Only in the wake of the Renaissance did prose start to rival poetry, with masterworks such as Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote, or Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

Only with the Renaissance does prose and poetry split into two distinct and diverging “continents”. Continuing throughout the Age of Enlightenment, with such authors as Daniel Defoe or Jonathan Swift, we reach the realm of Romanticism in the late 18th and early 19th century. It is often considered a golden age of literature, featuring immortal authors such as Victor Hugo, Goethe, Stendhal, Jane Austen or Edgar Allan Poe.

After Romanticism, realms of prose truly diverge and diversify into dozens of colorful forms.

One branch is dedicated to popular genre fiction, and includes many of the books and authors an average person will find in their bookshelf, with the massively popular genres of Fantasy, Sci-fi, Romance, Children’s literature, Adventure literature, Young adult fiction, Thrillers, Mystery novels, Horror and even a peculiar genre of “Transgressive fiction”, that includes a variety of cult authors such as Anthony Burgess, George Orwell or Chuck Palahniuk.

The other, probably just as interesting branch is dedicated to the art movements and “high prose”, which doesn’t belong to any particular genre. Romanticism transitions into Realism, which unlike Romanticism doesn’t try to depict an idealized version of the world, but instead tries to convey the world as close to its true form, through the eyes of ordinary people. It includes many authors almost everybody has heard of, such as Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky from Russia, Charles Dickens and the Bronte sisters from the UK, and Mark Twain or Jack London from the United States.

After realism, it becomes really hard to keep track, with the appearance of modernism – not a coherent literary genre in and of itself, but instead a cornucopia of many art movements, such as the Lost Generation, the Beat Generation, Surrealism, Expressionism and Magical Realism, finally reaching Postmodernism, represented by Paulo Coelho, Yann Martel or Salman Rushdie.

A very similar historical evolution of genres also applies to poetry and drama, and is represented on the map in a very similar way.

After the middle ages, we meet some of the most famous poets of the renaissance, such as Giovanni Boccaccio, Petrarch, John Milton or Edmund Spenser, before moving through enlightenment into Romanticism. There, poetry, especially English poetry, reached its zenith, with Alexander Pushkin, Friedrich Schiller, Lord Byron, Robert Burns, Percy Bysshe Shelley and also the famous English poets of the lake district, such as William Wordsworth.

The diversity of modernist genres in the realm of poetry was even greater than in prose, with such peculiar artistic movements such as Dadaism, Futurism, Parnassism, Symbolism and Decadence, which chiefly prospered in the late 19th and early 20th century France

In another massive segment, the map showcases the history of drama and theatre, beginning with Ancient Greek playwrights such as Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, moving through the christian mystery plays of the middle ages, and then entering the renaissance.

By far the single largest territory dedicated to a single author can be found in this part of the map with William Shakespeare – more than 30 of his most famous plays, such as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet or Othello can be found here. Moving through enlightenment and romanticism we reach Realism, when theatre experienced a major boom, with playwrights such as Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov and George Bernard Shaw

Realism then transitions into an archipelago of modernism and postmodernism, including the Epic Theatre with Bertolt Brecht, Theatre of the Absurd with and Samuel Beckett, and finally the contemporary drama of Tracy Letts and Tennessee Williams

Considerable part of the map is also dedicated to non-fiction. Beginning with the scientific treatises, historical chronicles and philosophical theses of the ancient era, it shows the most important works of Euclid, Herodotus, Plutarch, Plato and Aristotle of Greece and Tacitus, Seneca, Cicero of ancient Rome. Church fathers such as Augustine of Hippo and Tertullian that shaped much of the medieval european theology are also represented.

Moving through the Middle ages of Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus and Venerable Bede, and the Renaissance with Machiavelli or Leonardo da Vinci, we reach the age of enlightenment, that marks the beginning of the age of reason, the rise of modern science and philosophies of empiricism, rationalism and idealism. Isaac Newton, Euler, Leibniz, Voltaire, Locke, Kant, and also many of the Founding Fathers.

Subsequently, we enter the realms modern philosophy, psychology and science, a true cornucopia of great minds that helped to make our world and our culture what it is. Scientists such as Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman and Stephen Hawking all have a small realm dedicated to them, as well as psychologists Sigmund Freud and Stephen Pinker, and philosophers including Bertrand Russell, Albert Camus, Sartre, Karl Marx, Hegel, and even Ayn Rand

Nearby, close to the very edge of the map, a large islan is dedicated to popular non-fiction, one of the best selling type of books in the modern day, including popular science of Carl Sagan, Michio Kaku or Jared Diamond, self-help/motivational books, manuals and tutorials, including cookbooks, and finally memoirs, featuring Nelson Mandela and the Diary of Anne Frank

Finally, a microcontinent on the upper-right quadrant of the map is dedicated to graphic novels, including comic books and manga. While a relatively young literary form in the big picture, it has left a massive mark on our culture during the last 80 years, with readership approaching the billions.

It features many of the legendary comic book writers, such as Stan Lee and Rene Goscinny, along with the authors of graphic novels including Alan Moore and Frank Miller.

All of this, and much, much more, all condensed into a single poster for the first time in history!

Designed in a grandiose and detailed beaux-arts style with a hint of baroque, this map is guaranteed to be a grand attention-grabbing centerpiece of any room!

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