Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

East is East and West is West....Sometimes

A few posts back, I had a question from a reader asking about Oz maps and why the Munchkins and Winkies switch locations on various maps. This is one of those perennial questions that has no definite answer, but there are a number of theories.

The first map of Oz was created as a glass slide for L. Frank Baum's traveling show The Fairylogue and Radio Plays. On this simple map, seen on the right from The Annotated Wizard of Oz, the Munchkins are in the east and the Winkies are in the west, as described in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The next map came out in 1914, as the endpapers of Tik-Tok of Oz. On this much more detailed map, the Munchkins are on the left, which is usually the west, and the Winkies are on the right, usually the east. However, the points on the compass rose clearly place the east on the left and the west on the right. This is unlike any standard map, but Oz is a magical land - perhaps that is simply how things work there!

When this map was reprinted in 1920 to hand out with Oz books purchased that year, someone seems to have noticed the unusual compass points and corrected them. The Munchkins are now irrevocably in the west, and the Winkies in the east. Ruth Plumly Thompson regularly referenced the Oz map when writing her stories, so the two countries remained in their incorrect locations.

When new maps were created in the 1960s by Oz Club members James Haff and Dick Martin, the odd placement of Munchkins and Winkies was corrected. The new maps used a standard compass rose, and the entire country was reworked to try and clear up location discrepancies. This is the same basic map currently available from the International Wizard of Oz Club, although it has been updated a few times over the years. But I still like the original map in Tik-Tok with it's unique directions - that's how I think the map should be!


Nathan said...

I think a lot of it is what you're used to. Since most of the earliest Oz books I read were Del Rey editions, which included the Haff/Martin maps, I became accustomed to them, so the west being on the right in the Tik-Tok maps still looks a little weird to me. That said, there could be a specifically Ozian reason why west would be on the right side of the map. It's not like north at the top and east on the right was always the standard in the civilized world, either.

Bill Campbell said...

I don't mean to imply that either version of the map is right or wrong - The Oz books are filled with inconsistencies, and for me, the reversal of east and west just adds to the whimsy of the stories. And (a long shot here), maybe I can blame it for my abysmal sense of direction!

Michael Everson said...

Years later... I have released a new edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in English, and in Cornish, and am preparing editions in Irish, Esperanto, and Hawaiian. On p. 214 there is a weather vane which has (going clockwise) NWSE rather than the NESW of our world... I was worried that this was a major error of Denslows and wondering if I should fix it… so I'm grateful to you for this posting. I'm keeping NWSE.

Michael Everson, Evertype