03 November 2015

zO fo paM suoiretsyM ehT

At the Hungry Tiger Talk blog, David Maxine has been presenting his research into the many maps of Oz. In his latest, he shares information about the map that appeared in Tik-Tok of Oz (1914), as shown above.

David quotes material showing that L. Frank Baum:
  • sketched a map of Oz for a young reader while working on the musical that became Tik-Tok of Oz, according to his composer, Louis F. Gottschalk.
  • sketched a supplemental map depicting the adventure in The Lost Princess of Oz (1917) based on the first.
He thus reaches the convincing conclusion that Baum himself sketched the preliminary version of the Tik-Tok map.

The main mystery of that map is why its compass is reversed, with east shown on the left and west on the right. Baum’s texts are consistent about east and west—the Winkie Country is always to the west of the Emerald City, for example, and traveling west in the Winkie Country takes one to the edge of Oz. Likewise, the Lost Princess map is consistent with the earlier Tik-Tok map, with west on the right. But if one were to hover in the air over Oz in a balloon facing north, would it look like that map?

For David, the consistency suggests that Baum actually pictured Oz that way, with east to the left and west to the right. I'm not so sure that’s the only explanation.

Even in its early years, the Reilly & Britton publishing firm seems to have been a bit slapdash in how it assembled the Oz books. A couple of years ago I wrote an article about the art program for The Patchwork Girl of Oz, which included reusing many of John R. Neill’s illustrations, including at least one that Baum had rejected.

I therefore think there’s a possibility the Tik-Tok map ended up with a reverse compass because no one noticed that mistake till all the hand-lettering was done. Then, with the book ready to go to the printers, everyone (including Baum) just decided to live with the oddity. As for the Lost Princess map, Baum clearly based that off the earlier one, and it would have been much easier for him to maintain its orientation than to redraw the borders in reverse.

Unfortunately, correspondence between Baum and his publisher during the time when the map was created appears to be lost. We therefore don’t know what Baum asked for or settled for. But it’s clear that he accepted the map as published, with its unorthodox orientation.

1 comment:

David Maxine said...

Gosh, I got you blogging again! Hooray! As you point out, I never suggested WHY or HOW the "error" or "choice" occurred. But only that Baum seems to have fully accepted the wacky directions when he later made the LOST PRINCESS map and wrote text descriptions that supported the East on the Left view. His choice to accept them, whether he was responsible for them or not, makes the screwy Ozian compass points "definitive," IMHO.

And sicvne the evidence seems to support the idea that Baum drew the map and it was only redrawn to make it a bit neater for publication. I htink that still suggests that the mistake or choice was initially Baum's.