Encyclopedia of Imaginary and Mythical Placesby Theresa Bane
The heavens and hells of the world’s religions and the “far, far away” legends cannot be seen or visited, but they remain an integral part of culture and history. This encyclopedia catalogs more than 800 imaginary and mythological lands from all over the world, including fairy realms, settings from Arthurian lore, and kingdoms found in fairy tales
The heavens and hells of the world’s religions and the “far, far away” legends cannot be seen or visited, but they remain an integral part of culture and history. This encyclopedia catalogs more than 800 imaginary and mythological lands from all over the world, including fairy realms, settings from Arthurian lore, and kingdoms found in fairy tales and political and philosophical works, including Sir Thomas More’s Utopia and Plato’s Atlantis. From al A’raf, the limbo of Islam, to Zulal, one of the many streams that run through Paradise, entries give the literary origin of each site, explain its cultural context, and describe its topical features, listing variations on names when applicable. Cross-referenced for ease of use, this compendium will prove useful to scholars, researchers or anyone wishing to tour the unseen landscapes of myth and legend.
Unlike Alberto Manguel in Dictionary of Imaginary Places, professional vampirologist Bane (Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology) eschews popular sources in this encyclopedia of imaginary and mythological lands, selecting perennial underworlds, otherworlds, and afterworlds (Avalon, Ophir, but not Hogwarts). Some actual places are included among the 800-plus entries, contrary to the author's stated plan. There is much Norse and Celtic, but also East Asian, Hindu, Arabic, Oceanic, and other material. Entries are brief and cite sources. An extensive bibliography attests to the work's range; there is a lengthy index and occasional pronunciation help. A preface and introduction add some personal reflections. Editorial failures are rampant, however. There is much redundancy and inconsistency; cross-references are spotty (e.g., "Camelot" does not cite the locations "Carlisle," "Cardigan," or "Logres"). Copy editing is abysmal: hundreds of errors (i.e., grammar, spelling, and mechanics), major and minor, sometimes inhibit meaning (e.g., "barely" for "barley"; "tome" for "tomb" and later for "home"; "Schildburg" for "Gotham"; "entrances" for "enchantress"; and many more). The numerous misplaced modifiers are ridiculous (e.g., "A road in Arthurian lore said to be haunted by devils, Sir Launcelot…"). VERDICT This intermittently fascinating compilation, potentially useful to scholars and writers, is undermined by its all-pervasive errors.—Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George's Sch., Newport, RI
- McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
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Meet the Author
Theresa Bane, a professional vampirologist, has appeared on the Discovery Channel’s “Twisted Histories: Vampires” and “William Shatner’s Weird or What” for her expertise on the undead and is the author of other books on unusual phenomena. She lives in Staunton, Virginia.
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