The Dictionary of Imaginary Places: The Newly Updated and Expanded Classic

ISBN: 0156008726
ISBN 13: 9780156008723
By: Alberto Manguel Gianni Guadalupi

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About this book

From Atlantis to Xanadu and beyond, this Baedeker of make-believe takes readers on a tour of more than 1,200 realms invented by storytellers from Homer's day to our own. Here you will find Shangri-La and El Dorado; Utopia and Middle Earth; Wonderland and Freedonia. Here too are Jurassic Park, Salman Rushdie's Sea of Stories, and the fabulous world of Harry Potter. The history and behavior of the inhabitants of these lands are described in loving detail, and are supplemented by more than 200 maps and illustrations that depict the lay of the land in a host of elsewheres. A must-have for the library of every dedicated reader, fantasy fan, or passionate browser, Dictionary is a witty and acute guide for any armchair traveler's journey into the landscape of the imagination.

Reader's Thoughts

Ilana Waters

Somehow, in such a scholarly form, this volume makes the places in our imaginations seem . . . less imaginary. As if you could start planning a trip there any minute. Needless to say, a must-own for all true fantasy fans!

Tyler Malone

Manguel, once again, makes me say "Holy Hell." And you know what? He maps that realm out, too. A vast creative work pulled off very well.

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!

Espen Helgesen

** spoiler alert ** BoB: Ikke på BoB


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.


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 to find something new each time I pick it up.

Artur Coelho

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, de vazios nos mapas que prometem dragões e ao fazê-lo despertam os voos mais exóticos da imaginação humana. Foi este o meu primeiro pensamento ao folhear este delicioso tomo. Escrevi isto antes de o abrir com olhos de leitor, e só depois li o fantástico prefácio de Manguel, que espelha com precisão esta necessidade de imaginar o desconhecido na era onde as luzes do conhecimento iluminam o mais recôndito, longínquo ou obscuro. Não só, mas também o fascínio pelos voos de imaginação, pelos locais que existem em mapas que mapeiam não a geografia física mas os escolhos e penedos da imaginação sonhadora.


Well, I haven't read it all. It's giant. But, I have it and it's awesome. It really is a dictionary full of all imaginary places. Hogwarts, Neverland, Middle Earth,'s got everything with full descriptions. Really awesome library collection.


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.


This is basically a D&D player's dream come true packaged to appeal to a more general audience. Would make for an excellent bathroom book if it weren't so heavy.

Marna Carlozzi

Loved this book when I was younger and love having it to share with my child.

Steve Luttrell

Any book of this sort that includes the Marx Brothers' Fredonia, Edgar Rice Burroughs's Pellucidar, and Borges' Circular Ruins is, well, my kind of book.

Ann aka Iftcan

interesting over-view of famous (and some no longer quite so famous) imaginary places. Written mostly in the manner of a guidebook for the various locales, it still has wit and some humour.


This is a big omnibus of 19th Century fantasies. The kind where the hero washes up on an island where everyone wears their hats upside down for some reason.


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.

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