For all of us book-lovers out there, Boston’s latest amusement park was literally made just for us. What am I talking about? Well, Boston is building a tourism industry around its literary history, hoping to attract tourists. This also includes a literature theme park.
This has been a dream of mine since high school – I’ve even written papers on it. Although, I should probably mention, my high school literary theme park was based on Dante’s Inferno‘s levels of hell.
As long as Boston doesn’t create any Dante-based rides, as I did, I think this theme park would be a great place for the whole family. I can just picture the rides now:
There would be a Tunnel of Sonnets, where all of Petrarch’s 336 sonnets to his lost love Laura would be recited in its original Italian to ride goers. Please note: This would not be a romantic ride, as Petrarch’s poetry centers around how he can never obtain Laura, in part because she died young and he’s writing to her after she’s dead.
I can also imagine a log ride, where Odysseus’s journey back home from Homer’s Odyssey. Ride-goers can be lost in the log ride for 10 minutes (a cheap imitation of the 10 years Odysseus spent at sea, I know) and survive sirens, storms, whirlpools, cyclopses, witches that turn men into pigs, all to go home and find other men about to marry your wife.
There should, of course, be some American literature represented within Boston’s theme park. After all, Boston is the birthplace of such authors as Edgar Allen Poe, Anne Bradstreet, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Boston can recreate Poe’s short story The Masque of the Red Death by having a colored maze where theme park cast members can randomly drop dead to freak maze-goers out. Mention of a plague being outside the maze’s walls should also be whispered continuously to maze-goers so they can enjoy a true Red Death experience.
I’m really not picturing a Disney-like theme park here, and if Boston is going to be true to literature, it really shouldn’t be. Literature isn’t known for it’s happy themes and lovely endings, after all, so a literature theme park shouldn’t aspire to be the happiest place on earth.