chapter  8
Reading as Mapping
ByChristina Ljungberg
Pages 11

Maps and literature are both about orienting ourselves in the world. While a map serves to orient ourselves in real space, a literary text serves to orient us in a fictional space. Maps are abstract graphic representations of spatial or conceptual relations that represent a territory. They represent points and areas in space through their diagrammatic arrangement of the particular map signs, which has them function diagrammatically. Looking at fictional texts as maps that are able to evoke mental cartographies leads us to a new understanding of the materiality of texts. Mapping a text's use of spatial relationships offers a useful approach for investigating how readers experience a text's geography and its impact on readers' imagination. Making sense of the black marks on the page automatically includes shaping, conceptualizing and converting texts into mental models. The maps drawn of Bartlett's Mr Clive and Mr Page were strikingly different, which was also not unexpected, given the novel's complex narrative organization.