Maps and the Writing of Space in Early Modern England and by B. Klein

By B. Klein

Maps make the realm seen, yet in addition they imprecise, distort, and idealize. This wide-ranging learn strains the influence of cartography at the altering cultural meanings of area. Combining cartographic heritage with an important cultural reviews and literary research, this e-book examines the development of social and political area in maps, in cosmography and geography, in old and political writing, and in he literary works of Marlowe. Shakespeare, Spenser, and Drayton.

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Extra resources for Maps and the Writing of Space in Early Modern England and Ireland

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With Ortelius’ atlas the cosmographical project moved to an unprecedented level of spatial abstraction: the universal space of the earthly globe is encoded in a unified representational pattern based on a geometric projection which, in contrast to linear perspective, completely ignores the human observer – imagining a viewer in relation to the land depicted has become wholly irrelevant on the scale-map. The atlas both affords a totalizing overview and entertains the fiction of absolute spatial control: the world – imagined as a complete whole, as the sum total of all conceivable spatial relations – can be taken home to rest on a shelf, or decorate a wall.

Such changes signal the erosion of a conservative ideal which posited an agrarian world as governed by a moral imperative of mutual responsibilities, where the lord of the manor was still a paternal figure and not – as he was soon to become – an indifferent landowner. In other words, the conceptual change of the surveyor’s function from steward to land measurer in the sixteenth century is a chapter in the larger story of the gradual shift from feudalism to capitalism, a process that saw land subjected to new economic forces which compounded demands for improved standards in the apportionment of property rights.

As the chronicle progresses, more and more cities are introduced into the narrative at the moment of their supposed historical formation. Ranging freely over the map of the world this approach is moral and religious but still fairly unresponsive to national patterns. Schedel’s spatial typology differentiates principally between city and non-city, between civic space as the crystallization of a civilizing process and the uncertain geography of an unformed and unhistoricized landscape. Graphically, the city views, whether authentic or imaginary, portray exaggerated constructions of generic civic space: depicted as if viewed from an imaginary point on the ground, the horizon is raised to crowd as many individual buildings as possible into a single image; palaces, towers and churches – dominant moments of architectural achievement – marginalize lesser objects; fortified walls circumscribe the city as a defensive bulwark.

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