The Obsessively Detailed Map of American Literature's Most Epic Road Trips
The above map is the result of a painstaking and admittedly quixotic effort to catalog the country as it has been described in the American road-tripping literature. It includes every place-name reference in 12 books about cross-country travel, from Mark Twain’s Roughing It (1872) to Cheryl Strayed’s Wild (2012), and maps the authors’ routes on top of one another. You can track an individual writer’s descriptions of the landscape as they traveled across it, or you can zoom in to see how different authors have written about the same place at different times. Most interestingly of all, for me at least, you can ruminate about what those differences say about American travel, American writing, American history. A word to close readers: I hand-typed most of these 1,500-plus entries and located their coordinates as best I could. Some were difficult to track down. To be included, a book needed to have a narrative arc matching the chronological and geographical arc of the trip it chronicles.
• Ingénierie pédagogique