4000 years around the world and one night in London

I mapped the first 9 to 10 chapters of The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud. This is a fantasy novel set in quasi-modern-day London ruled by magicians. The narrator is Bartimaeus, a djinni (a type of spirit) summoned by one of these magicians' apprentices and charged with stealing the titular artifact: the legendary "Amulet of Samarkand". 

Bartimaeus claims to be over 4000 years old, and he refers often throughout the book to his adventures in various periods throughout ancient history. I have mapped these long-ago locations he mentions in the first 10 chapters, as well as the places in London he visits on his first night in London after being summoned in the present day.

The locations clustered around London itself are those between which he flees between during the night while carrying the valuable amulet he has been forced to steal by his master.


The really interesting thing about this map for me was that, when I went to try and connect the routes, I found I couldn't see exactly how Bartimaeus traveled. This is because he was going over buildings and "as the crow flies", but always with a fictional or unspecified intermediary place in between mentioned famous landmarks. As such, it isn't possible to plot his route.

Map Revised (slightly?)

I traced the narrator's walk from the Araby house down North Richmond Street, North Circular Road, Summerhill, and finally down Buckingham Street. These lines are marked in blue. After that, the boy takes a tram across the river to Westland Row. Apparently I'm terrible at working Google maps because I couldn't find a tram, so I put him on a train starting at Connolly Station. That line is marked in black. Even though it isn't exact, the map marks (in general) how the boy reached Westland Row from the Araby house with limited directions. This time around was much easier because (even though I still suck at using Google maps) I did manage to actually make lines appear and distinguish the two from one another. So that's a plus!

Looking at the story this way is really interesting to me. I can imagine in my head where the boy actually walked and what a long distance it was rather than relying on my imagination. Oftentimes I'm frustrated when stories or books are focused on travels or a quest but don't provide you with a map (a lot of fantasy novels do provide maps, which I love). It was nice making one of my own and being able to relate that to the story itself. 

Walking Araby

After basically giving up on trying to pinpoint the exact location of the Araby market, I decided that it would be interesting to get a first-hand experience of the boy's journey in the story. Using street view in Google Maps, I decided to walk the route from North Richmond St, turned onto N Circular Rd, onto Summerhill Parade, and finally onto Buckingham St. I know that my experience is a century removed from the boy's walk, but I was still struck by the streets of Dublin.

The first thing that surprised me is that the building in this neighborhood, even in modern times, are very small. Nothing is over 2 or 3 stories. I am used to big cities having tall buildings and narrow streets. Dublin, on the other hand, has short buildings and the streets are quite average-sized. However, the streets still felt incredibly claustrophobic. There are so many buildings packed together on a single street that you feel almost always like you are walking down an alley or corridor. The other surprising thing was the maze of streets you walk through. I am used to the grid system layout of Tulsa; it is simple and logical. Dublin is one jumbled mess. It is a labrynth. It seems like every hundred feet some side street branched off into another corridor. I felt trapped. It made me think how Joyce must have felt walking through these streets, using them even as inspiration for his works. There must have been such a unique atmosphere (especially back then when I'm sure the conditions of the streets were much, much worse). The streets of Dublin seem to be characters in and of themselves in Joyce's works, and I can certainly see why that is.

Mapping Visual Themes in Araby

My map seeks to trace the theme of visual obsession between the boy and Mangan's sister in the storyline of "Araby." The map provides the physical locations for each time the boy references Mangan's sister in a visually romantic way. At each marker on the walking map I inserted the quote that carried this visual theme. 

In my second lab working with the map, I finished marking the locations in which the narrator visually interacts or thinks about Mangan's sister. I also added a picture to each marker of the location, but now in thinking about it more, I wish that I had also put in pictures that helped more with the visual theme that I'm tracking rather than just images of each of the locations. If I was going to work further on this, I think it would be interesting to attach pictures like that of a girl on the steps or of a market scene. 

Araby Neighborhood Map

One thing I noticed while I was in Dublin this summer is that everything is incredibly compact--it really doesn't cover that large of an area. If this was the state of the city in 2014, I bet it was even more compact in Joyce's time. The neighborhood in Araby is no different from the rest of the city. Many of the main buildings that would have been important to families living on North Richmond Street were very short distances away from their homes. Though Joyce never explicity mentions a church in Araby it's a fair assumption that the people mentioned are practicing Catholics. After looking around on Google Maps for a bit, it seems likely that they would have been in the parish of St. Agatha. It's only 0.3 miles from the Araby house, and construction was completed on the church in 1908, making it a viable church for the people in the story. The same goes for St. Vincent's Girls School, the school probably attended by Mangan's sister. Since the boy goes to a school that is specifically for boys, I assumed that there had to be a Catholic girls school nearby. St. Vincent's is, approximately 0.25 miles from the Araby House. Adding further credence to my guess is the fact that a convent is attached to St. Vincent's, and Mangan's sister specifically mentions that she has a retreat at her convent during the weekend of Araby.

Between school, church, and playing in the streets, the children in Araby probably did not spend much time more than a half mile from their homes. This makes the boy's venture to the bazaar all the more notable. It is over 3 miles from his house--a true quest for someone who rarely gets more than a mile from home. 

The Araby area, now and 1914

I began by looking at this old map of Dublin, and I found Richmond Street on it. I found myself intrigued by the space makring out "Croke Park". I noticed that Croke Park does not exist in the present day. Indeed, it seems to overlap with a way in which the street has been extended. I intend to check up on what is going on here, and what happened to the park, and whether the Araby area is in fact smaller than today we suppose, based on the possiibility of a shorter street.


Araby Map


Attached is my basic map

Attached is my Araby map. I mapped the basic locations discussed in the story. I spent most of my time using the street view and familiarizing myself with the streets of Dublin.I really struggled to find a solid theme that I felt inspired to map for the story. It must just be the struggle of the end of the semester, but I was having a lot of trouble feeling inspired by the story. 

So instead I decided to do some research on literary maps in general. I found some incredible visual examples of famous literary maps in London and other famous literary locations. Rather than just a map of the places in the stories, some of these presented a visual representation of different characters that I found to be a lot more aesthetically pleasing. It was so cool to see all of the different types of literary representation there is out there, apart from what we have learned in this class. Attached is my favorite map that I found. It depicts various literary characters in London. 

I apologoize for this being a little off topic. Also I could only get the links of these to post for whatever reason. 


Mapping Araby

I mapped the pathway that the boy takes to get to the Araby bazaar.  Using details from the text as well as my own research to find more specific locations, I mapped out the trip that the protagonist makes going to the bazaar.  Each segment of his journey is colored differently to represent the walking, tram ride, train ride and final walk to the bazaar.  Mapping the route of this story was a really fun experience, getting to play around with google maps with multiple trial-and-error moments to learn how to use the map best. 


Araby map

I mapped North Washington Street and contrasted its current state with its depiction in Araby. The houses and Christian Brothers School are still there, but the lanes where the boy describes playing have been turned into parking lots and a paved street. Two street lamps are present on the street, as they're described in the story, and one stands almost directly across from a row house. This could be the boy's house, as the narrator describes "the light from the lamp opposite our door."