Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Literary Map of Maine

Have you ever wondered where exactly in Maine Henry David Thoreau was when he was in "The Maine Woods"? Ever thought you might know where the fictional St. Cloud, Maine, in John Irving's "The Cider House Rules" is meant to be? Do you think you know what towns in Maine, real or imagined, have provided inspiration or the setting for the many works of Stephen King?

The Maine Literary Map Project, a project co-sponsored by the Portland Press Herald & the Maine Regional Library System, aims to create a map, with the public's help, of these literary sites in our oft-celebrated in verse & prose Pine Tree State. The project seeks to have the reading public rediscover or learn of for the first time many great books which celebrate Maine culturally, poetically, & geographically.

The project, when completed, could resemble a 2005 New York Times creation of a literary map of Manhattan. This appealing & thorough map can be seen at this link: http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/books/20050605_BOOKMAP_GRAPHIC/.
There is also a West Virgina literary map (http://www.fairmontstate.edu/wvfolklife/literarymap/index.shtml).

Jeannine Guttman, editor of the Portland Press Herald, announced this idea on May 11th. The full text of her article, which provides more information on how to contribute & the philosophy behind the map's creation, can be seen by linking here: http://proquest.umi.com.prxy1.ursus.maine.edu/pqdweb?index=11&did=1477212071&SrchMode=3&sid=1&Fmt=3&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1210685265&clientId=48171&aid=1

Or, if you'd just like to dive into offering your contribution, visit the Portland Press Herald page at www.pressherald.com, then click on the "contribute to our literary map of Maine" link. You can also submit an entry via mail; mail entries can be sent to 390 Congress St., Portland, Maine, 04101, care of Marcia MacVane. Submissions will be accepted until June 8th. A finished map is scheduled to appear in the Portland Press Herald late this summer & a more detailed map is planned for the Press Herald's website.

Take another look at those Robert McCloskey, Linda Greenlaw, & other noted Maine authors' books to see if you can determine where this or that scene occurred. Read the aptly-named, "The Way Life Should Be," by Christina Baker Kline. Visit the fictional Spruce Harbor setting of Richard Hooker's "MASH Goes to Maine." And, while you are at it, help me -- possibly you too -- figure out where the Crabapple Cove of Hooker's imagination is that Hawkeye Pierce is supposed to be from.


Bangor Public Library

Bangor Public Library
Bangor Public Library,
145 Harlow Street,
Bangor ME 04401