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The Dictionary of Imaginary Places: The Newly Updated and Expanded Classic 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0156008723
ISBN-10: 0156008726
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Dictionary of Imaginary Places is best described as a guidebook of the make-believe. A good way to understand what Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi set out to do with their book is to imagine that you want to travel to a place like Oz, as in The Wizard of. What you remember from watching the classic movie and what you would want to know as a traveler are two very distinct things. What you'll earn in this book is that Oz is a large rectangular country where everyone works half the time and plays half the time, one that is divided into four smaller countries: Munchkin Country, Winkie Country, Quadling Country, and Gillikin Country. Flip through more of the book's alphabetized listings and you'll discover Fuddlecumjig, a town in Oz's Quadling Country whose inhabitants, the Fuddles, are among the most curious people in Oz. The main peculiarity is that they are made of many pieces, rather like jigsaw puzzles, and literally fall apart when strangers approach, and have to be reassembled with skill and patience. A travel tip for readers with vivid imaginations: put Fuddlecumjig's cook together first if you want a meal. And so go the descriptions of more than 1,200 worlds invented by storytellers throughout history, from Homer's Wandering Rocks in the Odyssey to Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park. But there's more here than just the worlds of literature and film. You can learn more about John Lennon's Nutopia from his album Mind Games. Nutopia is a country with no land, no boundaries, no passports, and no laws other than cosmic laws. And the Beatles' Pepperland from Yellow Submarine is described as a country 18,000 leagues beneath the Sea of Green, where inhabitants dress in bright colors and rainbows are frequent. Written with rich descriptions that bring places to life, The Dictionary of Imaginary Places is a wonderful, magical reference book perfect for fiction lovers. --John Russell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Since the publication of the first Dictionary in 1980, Manguel (A History of Reading) and Guadalupi, a translator and editor, have accepted suggestions from readers and continued their own research. The result is this updated version--a book that includes imaginary terrains from ancient Greece to Harry Potter's Hogwarts. The authors have set a few limitations for inclusion: "no heavens or hells, no places in the future, none outside the planet Earth, no pseudonymous places such as Wessex or Manawaka." Even with those seemingly extensive restrictions, however, the dictionary runs over 700 pages. Each place is described in detail as if it physically existed outside the reader's imagination. Entries are cross-referenced and See references are provided, as well as illustrations and maps that are difficult to locate elsewhere. A valuable reference source to accompany fiction collections, this new edition is recommended for all school, public, and academic libraries.
-Katherine K. Koenig, Ellis Sch., Pittsburgh
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 804 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt; 1 edition (November 2, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156008726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156008723
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. E. Cesaro on September 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
I bought this book because I was intriqued by the concept. A book that catalogs all of the places mentioned in other books. What I got completely amazed me. Not only were the places cataloged and indexed by book and by place, but the descriptions were long, even better they included maps.
The people who put together this book understood that the reason people would buy the book was not because they were looking for a one line definition but because they were looking for information about the places themselves. For example, for the definition of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, it would have been easy to write a one line definition stating that this was the school that Harry Potter attended in the Harry Potter series. Instead the book has a definition several pages long including a drawing and also explains everything that has so far been written about the school including the moving staircases and the portraits on the walls. That is just the beginning thousands of places are included in the book, and all are given as much attention in their descriptions as the authors took to explain the locations in the original works of literature.
So enjoy this book, it will make you want to read about places to help you to figure out if you want to read the books that created them.
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Format: Paperback
I recieved this book for Christmas from my paternal grandparents, who always give me tight stuff. I was crazy about this book, which covers every imaginery place in any book from Prospero's Island in "The Tempest" (great play, by the way) to Thomas More's Utopia. It was an amazing book. If you have ever loved any fantasy book, get this book! It has something to satisfy every interest.
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Format: Paperback
Somewhat disappointed with this "newly updated and expanded" edition. Some entries that appeared in the original are omitted from the new edition. For a book on imaginary places, it's surprising how little space was allocated to Fairyland, especially when compared with the several-pages-long entry on Hogwarts.

Maps are everything when exploring imaginary places; they provide atmosphere as well as information. The maps in this book are generic line drawings, informative but unenchanting, and I can only guess that the authors were unable to negotiate reprinting permissions.

We suggest buying a copy of the original 1980 edition along with the current one; the older book may not have Hogwarts, but it casts its own spell. Also get a copy of An Atlas of Fantasy by Jeremiah Post, which is devoted to reproductions of authentic imaginary maps. Fairyland is documented with Bernard Sleigh's wonderful "Ancient Map of Fairyland" in a two-page spread, Tolkien's famous maps and some private conworlds and con-countries such as Thomas Williams Malkin's "Allestone" are included.
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By A Customer on January 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed "The Dictionary of Imaginary Places" very much, and found it an interesting source for maps and summarized information on fictional places. There were some places that I felt should have been mentioned in the Dictionary that weren't, although there are certainly a great number of entries already. One problem I have is that the map of Tolkien's Middle-Earth is not entirely faithful to the original (most likely due to the difference in page dimensions). On the whole, though, this is a wonderful book.
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Format: Hardcover
A trove of wonders, many familiar, many not. It's still nice to browse through the various lands of Oz (with an excellent map to guide me), or to refresh in my mind where the Tombs of Atuan lie in the Islands of the Earthsea Archipelago. It's also wondrous to find Selene, the city of the Vampires where I "without fear, must sprinkle them with vampire's heart-ash; the vampires will then explode in a bluish flash." This is not, and cannot be, a comprehensive encyclopedia of all lands fantastic, but it is an extensive collection of wondrous places. Of note, readers of Science Fiction will find no familiar planets to peruse. These are the locales of Terrestrial imagination, of Middle Earth and Narnia and Atlantis and their ilk. My only personal complaint and frustration is how difficult it will be to retrieve many of the source works used by the authors. Paul Feval's LA VILLE VAMPIRE (Paris, 1875) is typical of the kind of treasure I would like to read in full, but can only find a couple of French language copies at the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library. Alas, I'll settle for a fantasy of escape to Iffish, that quiet island in the Earthsea Archipelago where if I'm very still, I might catch a view of a rare harrekki, chasing wasps and foraging for birds eggs. Wistful sighs all around.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the perfect companion for anyone who loves to daydream and go to imaginary places. The Abbey of the Rose would easily be the setting for a great romance and one of my favorites is Exopotamia, that vast deserted land "that because of the total lack of air, the atmosphere seems very healthy." Cloudcuckooland is another fav, a place I know well in my daydreams. Buy it, read it, over and over again. Sheer pleasure!
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Format: Paperback
This book, which has places from Lovecraft, Tolkien, Baum, and nearly every other fiction writer, is really a gem. It has cross references between related locales, bibliogaphic data for research papers and the like, and maps and pictures. You can look up virtually every allusion there is to made up places, and tourist information is included if you somehow manage to get to any of them. I recommend this book heartily, and have enjoyed it constantly for the nearly 10 years I've owned it.
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