Maps are mirrors. They are designed, at the most elementary level, to translate vast geographic space into something compact, yet they can’t help but reflect much more: ignorance, fear, prejudice, fantasy, myth. Two famous ancient globes embrace the unknown with the words Hic sunt dracones: “Here be dragons.” Even Google Maps and Waze trade on what we all know to be speculation—the idea that they’re sending us on the best route.

A cultural mapping of the U.S.: The American Dream, by Perry.

Many maps are deliberately fanciful; see, for instance, Huw Lewis-Jones’s The Writer’s Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands. Call it crypto-cartography. A few years ago, while visiting a friend at the British Museum, I saw outside his office a magnificent framed print of an island. It looked from a distance to be very old, but upon inspection it was a brilliant pastiche of an invented place: a mental map that captured the stream-of-consciousness outlook of someone in modern Britain. In a neat, 16th-century hand, it designated villages such as Chattering, Bespoke, and Them; a lake called Delirium; a beach named Neglect.