if you graph it, they will come

At the Dirt Exhibit in London I got to see John Snow’s “ghost map” graphing cholera cases during the 1854 outbreak:

This map helped prove that cholera spread not through “miasma” in the air but tainted water (the deaths marked on the map cluster around the Broad Street pump). It’s commonly credited with contributing to the birth of epidemiology.

Here’s another map, this time pertaining not to disease but to literature:

This version was drawn by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer via Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces.

The hero’s journey (Campbell calls it the “monomyth”) may not have saved as many lives as Snow’s map. But it arguably led to the birth of literary criticism.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s