Henry Reed’s Poetic Map of Verona: (Di)versifying the Teaching of Geography, IV

Adele J. Haft



Henry Reed’s “A Map of Verona” became the title piece of the only poetry collection published by this multi-talented Englishman (1946). By recalling his trip to Naples and prophesying his devotion to Verona, the poem foreshadows Reed’s lifelong passion for Italy. In “A Map of Verona,” Reed is unique among map-poets in presenting himself as the star-crossed lover of a place, whose mapped image he eroticizes into the beloved’s body. Because Reed ultimately rejects his map as illusory, the poem invites us to consider the type of map he was gazing at while composing “A Map of Verona.” This paper, the fourth in a series about the use of poetry in the teaching of geography, argues that Reed might have used the 1928 edition of Italy from the Alps to Naples, one of the popular Baedeker travel guides esteemed for their accurate maps and plans. Yet a gulf separates the Baedeker map of Verona from earlier, more romantic depictions of the city. Perhaps no image comes closer to sharing Reed’s sensibility than the complementary views of Verona displayed in Braun and Hogenberg’s magnificent Civitates Orbis Terrarum (1581).


Poetry about Maps,;Travel Guides; Baedeker; Blue Guides; Braun and Hogenberg; Map/Geography Education; Maps of Verona

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