Welcome to Mapping St Petersburg! This project aims to explore the relationship of the city of St Petersburg to the body of literature it has produced by developing a literary cartography: using maps to visualize and analyse the spatial dimensions of the Petersburg text.
At this initial stage, the site presents twelve maps that are the result of a pilot project, Mapping Crime and Punishment. In addition to a series of six maps plotting the events of the six parts of Dostoevsky’s novel, and a map of all the Petersburg locations that feature in the text, there are also maps of the places that appear in Dostoevsky’s working plans for the novel, of the different types of topographical ambiguity apparent in the text, and of the institutions, both state and private, that feature in the novel. Finally, two overlay maps, of Petersburg’s administrative districts in 1869, and of an old map of Petersburg, indicate future areas of development for the project. Each map is accompanied by a short text outlining its rationale and/or some of its outstanding features.
Three short background essays are intended to orientate non-specialists. St Petersburg: origins and literature discusses the symbiotic relationship of the real city and its founding myth in literature; Dostoevsky: a biographical sketch focuses on the author’s position as a Petersburg writer; and Crime and Punishment: an introduction outlines some of the main themes and preoccupations of the novel. Three bibliographies are presented for further reading: Petersburg, Dostoevsky, and Cities, Spaces, Cartographies.
The site is very much a work in progress, and as the project grows, we will be adding not only more content – further maps visualizing other Petersburg texts and groups of texts – but also technical developments that will enable greater interactivity, such as viewing maps in layers, and exploring a database of texts and historical data to produce new maps.
We will be using this News section to alert visitors to new developments on the site, and to discuss other aspects of the project, such as reflecting on the processes (both digital and humanistic) we have employed in producing the maps.
We welcome comments and suggestions. Please see the Contact page for details.