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The literary geography of Cambridge

Posted by Christopher Shea  December 23, 2008 10:05 AM

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The Harvard Crimson has assembled a graphically charming literary map [pdf] of the campus and its surroundings. You probably know that Quentin Compson, the doomed hero of Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury," threw himself off a bridge into the Charles. The map directs you to the site, the Larz Anderson bridge, and to a plaque honoring Faulkner's hero. But did you remember that the protagonist of Philip Roth's "Goodbye, Columbus," fantasized about heaving a rock through a Lamont Library window? Or that the Café Pamplona provides the setting for a romantic lunch in "The Namesake," by Jhumpa Lahiri?

The Crimson gives directions to the former homes of notable authors with strikingly contrasting biographies -- from Harriet Jacobs to the post-Lolita Nabokov -- and spotlights lesser-known alcoves, such as the Woodberry Poetry Room, in Lamont, with its unique recordings of authors reading their own works. And where might the hero of the novel "The Da Vinci Code," a professor of "religious symbology" at Harvard, have held office hours? Why, in the Religious Symbology Building, of course. That one can be tricky to find, so just keep walking or driving, consulting the map -- and have faith.

(To view the full annotated map, click the link in the text, above)
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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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