Whoever after due and proper warning shall be heard to utter the abominable word “Frisco,” which has no linguistic or other warrant, shall be deemed guilty of a High Misdemeanor, and shall pay into the Imperial Treasury as penalty the sum of twenty-five dollars. – Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, 1872
While the self-proclaimed Norton I, a.k.a. Joshua A. Norton (1819-1880), may have contributed more to San Francisco’s reputation for eccentricity than to its literary allure, the latter does owe a thing or two to the former.
The Beat Generation, perhaps the best-known bunch of literati to be associated with Frisc… I mean, San Francisco (*), were nothing if not eccentric – their liberal attitude towards sex, drugs and jazz helped gear-shift American culture from the conformist Fifties into the anything-goes Sixties.
The works and influence of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti et alii transformed San Francisco into one of the focal points of the countercultural movement that swept the western world in the Sixties and Seventies. But the literary endowment of the city transcends that flowers-in-your-hair phase, as shown by this map.
Based on a similar map of St Petersburg by Vera Evstafieva and Andrew Biliter, this one places city-relevant quotes on a San Francisco map, where possible on the district the quote relates to. San Francisco Bay, cable cars, the Mission, the Tenderloin District and Chinatown are all name-checked in this map, which quotes following authors:
Funny thing about these quotes by San Francisco-linked writers: ‘Frisco’ pops up twice…
Strange Maps #411
Got a strange map? Let me know at [email protected].
(*) The abbreviation San Fran is apparently equally disliked by the city’s residents.