The Allure of the Map

Every map tells a story, and writers yearning for new ways to tell stories are drawn to them. Walter Benjamin wrote of how he had “long, indeed for years, played with the idea of setting out the sphere of life—bios—graphically on a map.” Written when he was forty, “A Berlin Chronicle” resists a standard, linear biography and, instead, plots a map. Rather than a chronology, Benjamin creates a geography of Berlin; the relationships and events of the author’s life become map dots rather than plot points. A geographical map of Berlin converges with Benjamin’s personal map of the city, though Benjamin is still dependent on sentences and paragraphs.

Casey N. Cep | The Allure of the Map : The New Yorker