Tuesday, October 02, 2012

What Did The Wogglebug Map?

When a set of maps was used for the endpapers of Tik-Tok of Oz, L. Frank Baum placed these maps within his fictional universe by crediting them to Professor Wogglebug. He then started mentioning the maps in his stories, as in the beginning of Rinkitink: "If you have a map of the Land of Oz handy, you will find that the great Nonestic Ocean washes the shores of the Kingdom of Rinkitink, between which and the Land of Oz lies a strip of the country of the Nome King and a Sandy Desert."

In Glinda, after hearing about an impending war between the Skeezers and Flatheads, Ozma observes, "I know that on Professor Wogglebug's Map of the Land of Oz there is a place marked 'Skeezer,' but what the Skeezers are like I do not know." The implication is that the maps the readers can see in the books are also used within Oz itself. If this is the case, however, it is rather odd that the Skeezers would be marked on the map at all, living in a remote part of Oz as they do.

Plenty of other places on the outskirts of the land are also shown, including Jinxland, Oogaboo, and the Yip Country. Baum probably included them because he had ideas for stories set there, but what's the in-universe explanation? One suggestion I've seen and liked is that the Wogglebug purposely included remote lands to show off his knowledge, which would be in character for him.

When you take later books into account, however, what's odd is that the Professor would have left off so many places much closer to the Emerald City and his own college. This isn't so much of a problem in Baum, but becomes more of one once we add Ruth Plumly Thompson and others to the mix. It appears that the Wogglebug also made a few mistakes on the maps, or else the omniscient narrator did. For instance, Hiland and Loland really should be on an island, and it makes narrative sense based on John Dough and the Cherub for the Isle of Phreex to be nearby. James Haff and Dick Martin fixed this on their maps, but in doing so they contradicted the text of Rinkitink.
Other items for which there are conflicting references include the locations of Ev and of Ojo and Unc Nunkie's old house. In Ozma, the party crosses the desert from Ev and ends up in the Munchkin Country. Later, however, Ev is west of Oz, across the desert from the Winkie Country. And at the beginning of Patchwork Girl, Ojo claims to be able to see the Hammer-Heads' mountain from his house, and we know from Wizard that the Hammer-Heads live in the Quadling Country. After that, however, Dr. Pipt's house is said to be near the Gillikin border.

On their way to the Emerald City, Ojo and his companions come across the Scarecrow on his way to Jinjur's house, and we know from Tin Woodman that she lives in the northern Munchkin Country. I would take the Hammer-Head reference with a grain of salt anyway, considering how far west it is of Munchkin territory. Or maybe there's more than one mountain where Hammer-Heads live.

Regardless, Baum (or should I say Professor Wogglebug?) still went with a southern location for Ojo and Pipt's houses. This was another thing Haff and Martin changed for their maps. Who's right? Perhaps we'll never know, unless we can go to Oz and see for ourselves.

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