Map Commentary

In order to achieve a convincing literary geographic map image one has to run through processes of abstraction, quantification and isolation of linguistic characteristics, which reduce the semantic content of a text significantly. Maps however, are never final results but tools of interpretation and sources of inspiration. Whenever literary scholars screen, read, interpret and compare the maps, they do what is regarded as one of their core competences: to consider carefully ambiguities, to compare, to contextualise, to shed light on historical references, to juxtapose several readings, to combine methods and tools. Though it is the map commentary that allows making the decisive last step (however, it requires much further work until such a map or a set of maps can be provided): which questions are posed by the maps – and which answers can be found? For “placing a literary phenomenon in its specific space – mapping it – is not the conclusion of geographic work; it’s the beginning.“ (Moretti 1999:7).