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TBT: Parageography Series, Contents + Outline #1

I was digging around—I’m forever digging around in all my stuff, and I never find what I’m looking for, but I almost always find other interesting things I’ve forgotten I’ve ever owned. Anyhow, I was digging around and this time I found my old Parageography packet.

I studied Parageography (that is, the geography of imaginary places, though it was largely a creative writing and world-building class) under Douglass S. Parker at the University of Texas. He’s generally regarded as the coiner of the phrase, and he was a particular mentor to me. He’s sorely missed. I can think of no better legacy than sharing some of his work.

The class consisted of reading Classics (it was a Classics course, CC322 and/or 327 in the catalogue) but also of creating our own worlds and studying Doc Parker’s own High Thefaerie. Much of the packet involves a number of images which I may try to photograph and present in various posts. But for this first post, I’ll give the Contents:

1. Introductory
2. Odyssey
3. Apollonius
4. Vergil
5. Iambulus/Antonius Diogenes
6. St. Brendan
7. Herodotus
8. Monsters
9. Gardens
10. Gardens in Fusion
11. Spenser/Bowre
12. Atlantis
13. Utopia
14. Theleme
15. Hell I: Odyssey
16. Hell II: AEneid
17. Hell III: Inferno
18. Mabinogion
19. Malory/Arthur
20. Spenser/Faerye
21. Lucian
22. Rabelais
23. OZ
24. Narnia
25. Middle-Earth

Rather comprehensive and yet there is still so much more out there . . . But with limited number of weeks, there was only so much we could cover.

As a bonus today I’ll add the outline for the first class:

I. Words for Beginning
    A. From Samuel Goldwyn: “Bon Voyage!” (Though the “Bon Voyage” is printed backward)
    B. From Everybody: “What?!”
    C. From the Guide: “Let me I should tell you about my childhood in very, very darkest Indiana in the 1930’s: Sure, and it was a great time and place for a boy to grow up, filled with witches, and caves, and cheap fiction………”

II. Schematizing the World
    A. The real world
    B. The not-so-real world

III. Some Comments Generated by the Itinerary
    A. What the course is: The Embrace of Fantasy
    B. What the course isn’t: Significant Omissions
       1. A Moan for the Mainstream: No Dublin
       2. A Sob for Science Fiction: No Dune
       3. A Wail for Works of Forbidding Length: No Charlemagne’s Europe
       4. A Threnody for Things That Might Have Got In: No Earthsea

IV. A Word of Cheer
    A. However….

V. Terminological Mush
    A. The scene–actor ratio
    B. Allegorical landscape/paysage moralisé
    C. Moral Space
    D. The heisenberg
    E. The archipelago
    F. The generated landscape

VI. Loose Thoughts on Mapping: Where is the focus?
    A. Shape
       1. The world-box of Cosmas Idicopleustes
    B. Centrism
       1. Zmaragdocentrism: The OZ Map
       2. Theocentrism: The OT Maps
       3. Ethnocentrism: Imperial China
       4. Gnotocentrism: The Yurok Indians
    C. Center vs. Periphery
       1. Comfy around Home
       2. Strange at the Edge

It’s a lot to be getting on with, I realize. But it’s a fair start for anyone hoping to tromp his or her way through Doc Parker’s course. With just this much information, one might recreate and push one’s way through the curriculum, even without the benefit of Dr. Parker’s presence. It’s not near as much fun without him, unfortunately. Most things aren’t.

Next week I’ll post the second outline, which is titled “Guidelines for Parageographical Analysis”

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