Mapping Anxiety in Early Modern English Literature
The Introduction surveys a wide range of early modern textual production—including both literary genres and professional or technical materials pertaining to cartography—in order to offer a sense of the breadth of cartographic anxieties alive in the period, and to offer a taxonomy of the kinds of anxiety (about the map’s representational insufficiency, or about its political efficacy, or about its worrying complicity in state violence) most perceptible in the epic works Chapters 1–3 treat in depth. The introduction proposes that early modern writers and readers interrogating the map’s obfuscation of its own metaphoricity, its manipulation of detail and frame, and its innovative bibliographic presentation, ended up confronting literature’s own protocols for mediating the literal and the figurative, for constructing description and imagery, and for exploiting or rejecting their own material instantiations.
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