Cover image for The dictionary of imaginary places
The dictionary of imaginary places
Manguel, Alberto.
Personal Author:
Newly updated and expanded.
Publication Information:
New York : Harcourt Brace, [2000]

Physical Description:
xvi, 755 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GR650 .M36 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



From Atlantis to Tolkien's Middle-Earth, this Baedeker of the imagination takes readers on a tour of more than 1,200 realms invented by storytellers from Homer's day to our own. And now, brought up to date with dozens of invaluable new entries and illustrations, such as Umberto Eco's Island of the Day Before, Salman Rushdie's Sea of Stories, and Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, this volume is even more authoritative and comprehensive. Profiled within are lands drawn from Lewis Carroll, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, L. Frank Baum, C. S. Lewis, Jorge Luis Borges, and more. Written with the wit and insight that has made Alberto Manguel a bestselling authority on literature, the book is also a visual treat: more than 200 original illustrations and maps reveal the lay of the land in Oz, Lilliputia, Narnia, and elsewhere. Here are worlds enough and more for every reader, fantasy fan, and passionate browser.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

When the first edition of The Dictionary of Imaginary Places debuted in 1980 (followed by an expanded paperback edition in 1987), it aimed to offer a balance between the practical and the fantastic by using the form of "a nineteenth-century gazetteer." The sense of reality was heightened by illustrations and maps. Now in this newly updated and expanded volume, the same editors have created a "travel" guide to more than 1,200 realms from books and films, with new entries for Hogwarts and Jurassic Park, among other places. Entries are arranged alphabetically and vary in length from a paragraph or two to several pages for such destinations as Islandia, Middle-Earth, and Utopia. They offer description, history, and travel tips. Source notes at the conclusion of each entry provide author, work, and date of publication. Authors range from fiction writers to essayists, playwrights, film directors, and composers. The index lists places alphabetically under author and cross-references titles to authors. In the index, titles are listed in the original language followed by an English translation in brackets, with the English translation also listed separately. This guide to "places that never were" delights through the different examples of the fantastic and imaginary, some familiar, such as Narnia and Oz, and others more obscure, such as Carl Sandburg's Palace of Paper Sacks, from Rootabaga Stories, and Margaret Atwood's Realm of the Jaguar Throne, from Murder in the Dark. Besides being fun to browse, the book provides serious support for literature collections. Libraries that have found the previous editions useful will want this update.

Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Anyone who reads fantasy should own this volume. To improve and update this edition, Manguel and Guadalupi follow several basic guidelines in selecting imaginary places to visit. Each had to be "on our own planet" and not thinly disguised "existing locales." The book takes the guise of a "nineteenth-century gazetteer," including such entries as Camelot, Middle Earth from The Lord of the Rings, the many haunts of Sherlock Holmes such as Baskerville Hall, and Edgar Rice Burroughs's Pellucidar and Caspak. Researchers or fanciers of the fantastic or imaginary will find in this book many hours of enjoyment. Highly recommended for every library. W. E. Drew Jr. SUNY Agricultural and Technical College at Morrisville