Virtual Realities: Mapping Fictional Spaces

Houghton library presents a colloquium to celebrate its latest major exhibition “Landmarks: Maps as Literary Illustration.”

James Joyce’s novel Ulysses depicts precise coordinates of time and space—June 16, 1904, Dublin—while John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is temporally imprecise and geographically oneiric. Yet both works have encouraged later efforts to create spatially sophisticated representations of their worlds, which speakers at this Houghton panel will discuss. A team at Boston College is developing a virtual reality version of Ulysses called “Joycestick” that allows players to enter the interior world of the novel off the page. Over the four-century history of its reprinting, Pilgrim’s Progress has inspired numerous literary cartographers to map its uncertain terrain. On the spectrum from realism to allegory, how do both these works succeed as mapped literature? Moreover how is reading a book mapping it and how does one read a literary map?

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Thomas Hyry, Florence Fearrington Librarian, Houghton Library

Peter X. Accardo is curator of Houghton Library’s exhibition “Landmarks: Maps as Literary Illustration” (on view through April 14)

Tom Conley, Abbott Lawrence Lowell Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies and of Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University.

Joseph Nugent, Professor of the Practice in Boston College’s English Department, works at the intersection of immersive technology and literary studies. “Joycestick” is one of a number of projects he has led at Boston College to consider Joyce’s work through new digital tools.

Porter White is a Ph.D. candidate in English at Harvard.  Her dissertation argues that Victorian readers rewrote pilgrimage as a social practice in response to canonical texts by Bunyan and Byron.

Dr. David Weimer is Librarian for Cartographic Collections and Learning at the Harvard Map Collection.  His current research focuses on connections between vision, spatial theories and education of the blind.

Themes: Digital Humanities, Cartography, Realism and Allegory in Texts, Mapping as Illustration

Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 3-5pm
Houghton Library Edison and Newman Room
3.00 pm: Colloquium
4.15 pm: Reception and viewing of the exhibition “Landmarks: Maps as Literary Illustration”

Edison & Newman Room

The room, its programs, and its exhibitions are supported by the generosity of the Edison and Newman families (Bernard A. Edison AB 1949, MBA 1951; Julian I. Edison AB 1951, MBA 1953; Andrew E. Newman AB 1966, MBA 1968). Located on the first floor of Houghton Library, this room serves as a location for a variety of public programs.

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