Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Literature's Great American Road Trips

You could argue that all great literature involves a journey of some kind. The idea of a hero undertaking a personal odyssey is probably older than the written word itself. However the mythological power of the road-trip in American literature seems particularly strong. It is America's ur-story, springing from the pioneering journeys of the early Western settlers. It is in many ways the story of America itself.

The Obsessively Detailed Map of American Literature's Most Epic Road Trips sets out to map the great American journeys undertaken by some of America's greatest writers (and a few not so great). The map features every place-name referenced in twelve American non-fiction books. The celebrated writers featured on the map include Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac and Tom Wolfe.

You can select to view each journey's route on the map from the map side-panel. Click on individual markers and you can read excerpts describing the chosen location. The map therefore provides a handy accompaniment to any of the mapped texts. However to truly appreciate the map you need to read the book.

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