17 April 2012

Mapping Oz

David Maxine at Hungry Tiger Press is mapping the history of Oz cartography each Monday. The latest installment examines the map included in The Lost Princess of Oz, which showed the settings of that adventure.

This was the first map to follow the comprehensive “official” pair published two years earlier in Tik-Tok of Oz. David writes:
This careful explanation of existing geographic points proves to me that Baum was looking at a copy of the 1914 map as he wrote. Indeed the 1914 map may have been a crucial plotting tool for Lost Princess. As we've discussed previously, Baum added several countries and locales to the 1914 map that he had not yet written about, such as the Skeezers, Mount Munch, and the Yips. It's possible that Baum had some notion of the plot of Lost Princess back in 1914, allowing him to place the Yip Country near the Truth Pond where the Frogman will bathe, but I think the evidence shows it is far more likely that Baum plotted the book by looking at the map - choosing to begin in one of his unexplored countries (the Yips) and seeing the only nearby landmark was the Truth Pond and he needed to come up with some excuse to make use of it.
Before Reilly & Britton published Tik-Tok of Oz, Baum’s books mentioned a map of Oz only one time. And in that mention, in one of the short stories in The Little Wizard Stories of Oz, Ozma draws an impromptu map for Jack Pumpkinhead to follow [yeah, that’ll work]. However, the story’s narrator never mentions an “official” map of the country or its neighboring fairylands.

After the Tik-Tok map appeared, every Oz book for decades included some mention of a map of Oz. Sometimes authors located their new countries on that map. Sometimes characters had or discussed maps. The authors simply couldn’t disregard that official layout for the country.

I agree with David that Baum looked at the Tik-Tok maps while writing his stories and drew inspiration from them. We also know that Ruth Plumly Thompson kept a copy of a map of Oz on which she drew the new places she created. John R. Neill included double-page maps in his books and took names of the 1914 documents.

In sum, the books and manuscripts Baum wrote up to 1914 shaped the official map of Oz, but the map shaped the stories he and his successors wrote after that.

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