Literary Atlas

Plotting English-Language Novels in Wales

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Literary Atlas: Plotting English-Language Novels in Wales

The Literary Atlas is an exercise in what literary geographers call deep mapping. It will contain not only geographical references to real and imagined places in Welsh fiction, but also historical, cultural, and sociological information about these localities.

The Literary Atlas will be augmented with filmic, photographic and audio material, academic and critical commentaries, excerpts of books, and author interviews. The Literary Atlas will provide virtual tours of the locations used in novels, and directions so that these tours can also be walked in practice. In doing so it will enhance our understanding of the relationships between literary textuality and geography.

This project is an interdisciplinary demonstration of the power of literary geography to offer insight into the vital connections between people, literature and land.

Aims and Objectives

The project has three broad aims:

  1. Encourage the critical and active reading of fictional narratives
  2. Promote an understanding of how literature can help strengthen individual and community identity
  3. Enhance cultural tourism

More specifically, the project will also:

  1. Provide a creative and intellectual space for the public and scholars
  2. Encourage readers to reflect on their identification with Welsh places
  3. Explore the conceptual relationships between culture and place
  4. Develop literary geography as an emerging interdisciplinary field
  5. Investigate the potential of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and mobile technology in the articulation of literary and geographical knowledge

Project Timeline

Phase I

Summer 2016

Phase I of the project will be the creation of the website. The website is anticipated to go live in Summer 2017.

Phase II

Summer 2017 to Summer 2018

Phase II will critically evaluate the uses of the website. This will involve the recruitment of focus groups to examine the ways in which readers engage with fictions and geographies through the use of the website. Moreover, working with our partners Literature Wales, the project will organize literary tours that utilize the website’s resources and explore locations from the texts. These will take place from Summer 2017 to Summer 2018.

Phase III

Post-Summer 2018

Phase III (post-Summer 2018) will communicate the insights found from the project through reports, academic papers, international festivals, conferences, open public events, and the website itself.

360 Video

Hay Festival 2016

Dr Jon Anderson introduces the Literary Atlas.

Watch the introductory words from Dr Jon Anderson, Cardiff University, at the Hay Festival in 360 video.

Dr Jon Anderson's

Page and Place

Page and Place: Ongoing Compositions of Plot examines the key relationships between literary and literal worlds.

The book explores how the imaginary worlds of stories and novels intersect, conflict, and supplement our understanding of the material locations around us. It explores how literary narratives reshape our perception of the world, and explores issues of representation, interpretation and consumption of pages and the places they connect to. Whilst it is common to frame the relationship between the literary the literal as separate and bounded, this book suggests this boundary itself is more imagined than real. Page and Place demonstrates these arguments by drawing on stories, narratives, and mobile interviews with Welsh writers, including Iain Sinclair, Malcom Pryce, Niall Griffiths, and Gillian Clarke. By doing so, it employs and further contributes to the creation of entangled maps through the real and imagined geographies of Wales.

Book cover of Page and Place by Jon Anderson