Literary Geography
An Encyclopedia of Real and Imagined Settings
by Lynn Marie Houston, Editor
August 2019, 381pp, 7x10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4254-2
$107, £83, 94€, A147
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4255-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The vividly written descriptions of Oz, Panem, Narnia, and many more literary landscapes—both real and imagined— reveal historical, political, economic, and cultural context of the stories.

This reference investigates the role of landscape in popular works and in doing so explores the time in which they were written.

Literary Geography: An Encyclopedia of Real and Imagined Settings is an authoritative guide for students, teachers, and avid readers who seek to understand the importance of setting in interpreting works of literature, including poetry. By examining how authors and poets shaped their literary landscapes in such works as The Great Gatsby and Nineteen Eighty-Four, readers will discover historical, political, and cultural context hidden within the words of their favorite reads.

The alphabetically arranged entries provide easy access to analysis of some of the most well-known and frequently assigned pieces of literature and poetry. Entries begin with a brief introduction to the featured piece of literature and then answer the questions: “How is literary landscape used to shape the story?”; “How is the literary landscape imbued with the geographical, political, cultural, and historical context of the author’s contemporary world, whether purposeful or not?”

Pop-up boxes provide quotes about literary landscapes throughout the book, and an appendix takes a brief look at the places writers congregated and that inspired them. A comprehensive scholarly bibliography of secondary sources pertaining to mapping, physical and cultural geography, ecocriticism, and the role of nature in literature rounds out the work.


  • Discusses books and poems covered on the AP English Literature and Composition exam, the most-assigned pieces of literature on high school reading lists, and well-loved contemporary books
  • Examines specific pieces of literature in the geographical and historical context in which they were written, making this book especially relevant to core curriculum standards
  • Provides comprehensive content that is unique in the library market
  • Includes recommendations of complimentary works
  • Features organization alphabetical by work, making it easy to navigate
  • Maintains an accessible style useful for high school and general education college courses
Lynn Marie Houston, PhD, has spent nearly two decades teaching college English courses, from developmental classes to graduate seminars. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and coauthor of the books Reading Joan Didion and Reading Barbara Kingsolver. She is also a senior tutor and instructional support specialist at the Sacred Heart University learning center in Fairfield, Connecticut. Her writing has garnered distinction in contests sponsored by the National Federation of Press Women, Cultural Weekly, The Broad River Review, and the Eric Hoffer Foundation, among others.


2020 Eric Hoffer Book Awards, First Place in Reference Category—U.S. Review of Books, May 18, 2020


"High school and college students will find excellent examples of how to study the geographical components of literature, while book clubs will discover fresh approaches to old and new classics."—Library Journal, November 1, 2019

"Meticulously compiled, this is a thought-provoking literary aid."—Kirkus Reviews, December 9, 2019

"The encyclopedia is geared toward high school students and general readers, but it might also be useful to first-year undergraduates in introductory literature courses."—Choice, February 1, 2020

"From Slaughterhouse-Five to Macbeth and from the Lord of the Flies to Gulliver’s Travels, the author expertly delivers nuggets of wisdom in a manner that might prove fruitful and valuable to both the layperson and to the academic alike."—U.S. Review of Books, May 18, 2020
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