Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Dictionary of Imaginary Places” as Want to Read:
The Dictionary of Imaginary Places
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Dictionary of Imaginary Places

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  1,117 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
The Dictionary of Imaginary Places is best described as a guidebook of the make-believe. A good way to understand what Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi set out to do with their book is to imagine that you want to travel to a place like Oz, as in The Wizard of. What you remember from watching the classic movie and what you would want to know as a traveler are two very d ...more
Hardcover, 755 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Houghton Mifflin (first published 1980)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Dictionary of Imaginary Places, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Dictionary of Imaginary Places

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Rob
Sep 25, 2010 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rob by: John; Creighton
More of a novelty than anything else, the Dictionary of Imaginary Places is just that... a big fat alphabetized compendium of places that exist only in legends and myths and novels and other stories. It's the kind of book that aspiring novelists put on their coffee tables to impress other aspiring hipster novelists.

"What's with all those sticky notes and penciled in remarks?"

"Oh, you know. Research. Annotations."

"And this whole sheet stuffed in there?"

"I was trying to see what it would look like
...more
Megan Vaughan
Sep 04, 2007 Megan Vaughan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
This is an absolutely fabulous book for anyone of any age. If you're capable of letting your mind wander to far off and completely fictional places, you'll be entranced immediately. Its the kind of thing you read a few pages of before bed to ensure charming and enchanting dreams.
Artur Coelho
Aug 02, 2016 Artur Coelho rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nesta era em que cada milímetro quadrado do planeta está mapeado com rigor, observado pelo olhar lenticular dos satélites em órbita, cada recanto registado pelas suas coordenadas no espaço abstracto dos meridianos e paralelos, fotografado nos espectros do infravermelho ao ultravioleta, calcorreado por exploradores, aventureiros ou servos de gigantes tecnológicos apostados em digitalizar o planeta, traçado em atlas e mapas pixelizados, precisamos talvez mais do que nunca de espaços desconhecidos, ...more
Chris
I fell upon this book when it was first published like a punter attacking an ice-cream during the interval in an over-hot theatre. Just the title had me drooling, and once inside the book I was in seventh heaven. First of all it took places described in a range of literary works as literally true by giving each a Baedeker-style travel guide entry. Then, like any good Baedeker it provided maps and charts giving visual aids to familiar and unfamiliar locations. There have been at least two revised ...more
Branduno
Oct 09, 2008 Branduno rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first got the 1987 edition of this book as a gift from my uncle in the mid-nineties, and it has since been one of my favorite volumes to idly peruse. Though it contains lengthy entries on the most frequently visited of imaginary places, such as Middle-earth, Earthsea, and Oz, its entries on less familiar regions such as Sylvia Townsend Warner's Kingdoms of Elfin are welcome, and this updated edition includes such recently-explored places as Hogwarts and Neverwhere.

This work was my first introd
...more
Hannah
May 12, 2013 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm so tickled by the existence of this book. The title pretty much sums it up - this is an encyclopedia of imaginary places ranging from the fantastical (Middle Earth, Narnia, Wonderland) to the more realistic (Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe's island, Xanadu). In fact, this dictionary is worth looking at just for the extensive descriptions of Middle Earth and Narnia.

The authors treat every location as though it actually exists, which is part of the fun of reading it. There are also some wond
...more
Marvin
Nov 01, 2009 Marvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any one who has an imagination.
Shelves: fantasy
One of my favorite books for browsing. An inexhaustible index of imaginary lands in literature from The Grand Duchy of Fenwick to Burrough's Pellucidar to Carroll's Wonderland. Many entries are illustrated with maps and all come with detailed descriptions of the lands. The fact that the writers treat these entries like they are real places that you may travel to, simply lends a delightful air in the enjoyment of this book. I've had this book since its first publication in 1987 and I never fail t ...more
Douglas Summers-Stay
Sep 26, 2014 Douglas Summers-Stay rated it really liked it
It's not really a dictionary; some parts are written like a tour guide, others more of an atlas. The entries describe locations from fantasy novels, from Gulliver's travels through Harry Potter. I noticed it included a few of Calvino's invisible cities, and some lands that Borges described, which is appropriate for such a Borgesian enterprise. The maps and illustrations are well done. It's a fun way to browse for new things to read. If you're willing to put up with an older edition (no Hogwarts) ...more
Alexandra Paiva
In our progressively shrinking world, it is no small feat to map the mysterious nor to put to paper, as much as one can, the lands that only a small group of people dared to tread. There were so few of these folk and so wild were the stories that reached us, that any person of sensible, rational persuasion can only but doubt and lay aside these tales as the (not so) simple work of fanciful creativity and wild imagination. Some voices might even call out – with that shrill, grey voice boring peop ...more
Amelia, the pragmatic idealist
This book is absolutely amazing, it is insightful, and it is a must-have for anyone attempting to write fantasy. included are:
- mythical places like Valhalla and Hades
- classical locations like Thomas More's Utopia, the places in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels...
- EVERYWHERE in the Middle Earth universe! (that alone deserves 5 stars)
- and recent locations, like J.K. Rowling's Hogwarts!!!

Ohhh and the pictures are wonderful, too!
Jeremy
May 10, 2013 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an entertaining read, great fun. It's not anywhere near exhaustive, though, which is understandable given the subject matter. The authors try to cover all of the major imaginary worlds in literature, and world literature at that, not just anglophone. Maybe it would be good to have several different volumes, each one devoted to a different nation or language.
Denis
Nov 20, 2008 Denis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The perfect dictionary for anyone who's a dreamer. You don't need to be a fantasy or sci-fi fan (I'm not) to appreciate this astonishing book, which opens the doors to a myriad of imaginary places you wish you could go right now. The depth of the author's knowledge is breathtaking, and he writes about those places in the most delightful way.
Mike
Feb 19, 2009 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I certainly haven't read all of this voluminous book. It’s somewhat akin to reading and reviewing an encyclopedia, which is precisely what this book is. I was pleased to find the entries on places I’ve already read of in books, but I’m most excited about the prospect of discovering new books to read by referencing them in this book.
Michael
Apr 10, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A pretty interesting (and international!) compendium of imagined worlds. Not exactly complete by any means, even for the most recent update (1999), but still fun to poke through. Definitely worth the $9.99 I originally paid for it off the Waldenbooks bargain pile.
Terence
An interesting, if quirky, volume. While many mainstays of fantasy are represented -- Tolkien, Baum, etc. -- many entries are of obscure 18th and 19th century European authors who very few have heard of.
Ed
Mar 19, 2014 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So fascinating to find places that had only existed in books to be sometimes very well mapped out and have a substantial history. This book made me want to search out the stories that some of these places were based on.
So, it made me want to read more.
I like that.
Jeremy S.
Jul 22, 2014 Jeremy S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, scifi, reference
this was a magical find for me years ago and it's uniqueness in the world of giant reference books is begging for me to get an updated version in hard back.

there exists one other giant tome in the category of fantasy literature. while it contains more granular information, Imaginary Places stands as a more playful resource. plenty of maps, drawings and geographical information can be looked up about Mordor, Oz and many other places.

Make sure you have plenty of room on your bookshelf, because I
...more
Jacob Gaston
This book would actually be useful if it had a proper index instead of a reference sheet. This book is a mess. It could only be useful to those who already know what their looking for.
Eric
Jan 15, 2016 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
A wonderful and whimsical compendium of 100's of imaginary places from Abaton to Zuy and everything in between like Middle-Earth, Oz, etc. A great read!
Rachel
Unprecedented, witty, and utterly delightful, this encyclopedia of magical worlds uses a tongue-in-cheek, tour guide sensibility combined with a genunine love for its source material, which together are incredibly effective. It remains equally engaging whether flipped through at one's leisure or read straight through, and also serves as a enlightening survey of the worlds we create, over centuries. Much can be said about humans by looking at their Utopias and Dystopias, and the proliferation of ...more
Tiffany B.
Feb 17, 2015 Tiffany B. rated it it was amazing
A fun read that you can get lost in for hours - and a reference for when you need some creative inspiration.
Montse Bejarano
Jan 02, 2016 Montse Bejarano rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un libro extraño. Como un atlas de literatura fantástica con mapas incluidos. Increible
Marna Carlozzi
May 17, 2014 Marna Carlozzi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book when I was younger and love having it to share with my child.
Clara Amorim
Jul 27, 2015 Clara Amorim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muito mágico!!!
Peter DiCicco
May 09, 2007 Peter DiCicco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bookworms; fantasy buffs
Shelves: fantasy, mythology
This is just a fun reference guide to a nearly endless list of imagined places. It sticks pretty strictly to literature and mythology (because, seriously, the editors would be researching it forever otherwise), so no Fortress of Solitude or Galaxy Far, Far Away. You can't have everything. I spent hours flipping through it when I first got it and still do on occasion. There aren't many places where you can easily flip back and forth between compendiums of knowledge on the Land of Oz and Middle-Ea ...more
Brianne
Aug 29, 2016 Brianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: research
This book lived up to all of my expectations.

It is in a dictionary format and, therefore, can't be expected to go into depth about each of the many magical lands that it documents. I use it as a reference for ideas and inspiration, but then branch out to other sources when I want specific details about any of the places it covers. It is a beautiful thick, hardcover that I find, not only informative, but a wonderful edition to the shelves of any folklore or fantasy enthusiast.
Espen Helgesen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rasmus Skovdal
Jan 04, 2016 Rasmus Skovdal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mostly pointless, and entirely wonderful book.

It is exactly what it says on the tin - a reference book to places from fantasy novels. 800 pages of that. With maps and illustrations. Your immediate reaction to that description probably says a lot about you as a person.

It's not something you'd ever sit down and read from beginning to end, but I'm delighted that it now sits on my bookshelf, and that it exists.
Kellie
Jun 05, 2012 Kellie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book including details of a plethora of fictional places we read about every single day. Included copious maps of places like Oz, Middle Earth, Atlantis and soo many more obscure mythical places. This book hasn't been updated in a while, but I keep my copy around for nostalgia and also the articles on the fictitious cities are very informative not to mention entertaining.
R.L.
Aug 13, 2014 R.L. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To find out what kind of places exist in other people's imaginations turn to this book. There are maps and guides. I enjoyed studying the map of Oz. Who knew? This is a welcome addition to the bookshelf for anyone who enjoys fantasy/sci-fi. Each name is given a complete explanation. Helpful.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Encyclopedia of Things That Never Were: Creatures, Places, and People
  • The Encyclopedia of Fantasy
  • Giants, Monsters, and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth
  • Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, & Other Supernatural Creatures
  • Encyclopedia of Gods: Over 2,500 Deities of the World
  • The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves and Other Little People
  • A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels
  • The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales
  • Cryptozoology A to Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras & Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature
  • A Dictionary of Superstitions
  • Cassell Dictionary of Superstitions
  • The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits
  • A Dictionary of Symbols (Occult)
  • The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory
  • Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses
  • The Mythical Creatures Bible: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Mythical Creatures
  • The Encyclopedia of Hell
  • The Oxford Companion to World Mythology
3602
Alberto Manguel (born 1948 in Buenos Aires) is an Argentine-born writer, translator, and editor. He is the author of numerous non-fiction books such as The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (co-written with Gianni Guadalupi in 1980) and A History of Reading (1996) The Library at Night (2007) and Homer's Iliad and Odyssey: A Biography (2008), and novels such as News From a Foreign Country Came (1991). ...more
More about Alberto Manguel...

Share This Book