Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps

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9780712358903: Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps

From dragons and serpents to many-armed beasts that preyed on ships and sailors alike, sea monsters have terrified mariners across all ages and cultures and have become the subject of many tall tales from the sea. Accounts of these creatures have also inspired cartographers and mapmakers, many of whom began decorating their maps with them to indicate unexplored areas or areas about which little was known. Whether swimming vigorously, gamboling amid the waves, attacking ships, or simply displaying themselves for our appreciation, the sea monsters that appear on medieval and Renaissance maps are fascinating and visually engaging. Yet despite their appeal, these monsters have never received the scholarly attention that they deserve.           In Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps, Chet Van Duzer analyzes the most important examples of sea monsters on medieval and Renaissance maps produced in Europe. Van Duzer begins with the earliest mappaemundi on which these monsters appear in the tenth century and continues to the end of the sixteenth century and, along the way, sheds important light on the sources, influences, and methods of the cartographers who drew or painted them.           A beautifully designed visual reference work, Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps will be important not only in the history of cartography, art, and zoological illustration, but also in the history of the geography of the “marvelous” and of Western conceptions of the ocean.

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About the Author:

Chet Van Duzer is an Invited Research Scholar at the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Review:

“[B]eautifully illustrated. . . . People interested in maps, cryptozoology, folklore, and arcane zoology and zoological history will want to check it out.” (Scientific American)

“The book features striking images of maritime monsters taken from maps of the ocean made between the 10th and 16th centuries.” (Boston Globe Brainiac Blog)

“Full of charming stories and cartographic detail, Chet Van Duzer’s book is an entertaining and rewarding book for general readers and a well-researched reference for scholars.” (Alessandro Scafi Times Literary Supplement)

“In the large-format, hardcover that this thing is, it’s basically as near to the ultimate nerd-level coffee table book that you could ever want, and I love it for that.”
(Aidan Flax-Clark Lapham's Quarterly)

“[An] authoritative, wide-ranging study. . . . Sumptuously produced. . . . The author is an encyclopedic scholar of historical cartography, with a magisterial command of comparative knowledge and scrupulous attentiveness to detail.” (Marina Warner New York Review of Books)

“Medieval and Renaissance map scholar, Chet Van Duzer, backed by the British Library as publisher, have teamed up to produce a spectacular new book, Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps, a topic, oddly enough, for which there is little by way of real precedent. This book will become the sea monster authority by default. Although this beautiful book is a product of academic quality, it is very readable and accessible and requires no prior knowledge.”
(BibliOdyssey)

“A truly charming book, and one that will turbocharge the imagination of anyone staring over the side of a boat at a bunch of waves that could hide just about anything.”
(Sam Llewellyn Marine Quarterly)

“Lavish. . . . The sea monsters depicted throughout Van Duzer’s beautifully illustrated British Library volume strike absolute wonder in the reader today, and the author provides valuable insight into what medieval and Renaissance viewers must have made of these sinewy, silly, horned, fanged, and fearsome creatures. . . . Van Duzer reminds scholars that it sometimes helps to let the eye wander to the margins, to get a different historical perspective of medieval perspectives of their surrounding seas. This critical analysis of a hitherto ignored cartographic trope adds much-needed depth to our understanding of medieval and later perceptions of the sea and its mysterious creatures.” (Vicki Ellen Szabo, Western Carolina University Nautical Research Journal)

“An in-depth dissection of ancient maps and sea beasts from days past.” (Andrew Belonsky Out)

"Duzer offers a sublime examination of the genealogy of individual sea monsters and the artistic techniques of placing them on maps. . . . The author and the British Library both deserve great praise for creating such a visually stunning work." (Historical Geography)

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Chet Van Duzer
Published by The British Library Publishing Division, United Kingdom (2013)
ISBN 10: 0712358900 ISBN 13: 9780712358903
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Book Description The British Library Publishing Division, United Kingdom, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The sea monsters on medieval and Renaissance maps, whether swimming vigorously, gambolling amid the waves, attacking ships, or simply displaying themselves for our appreciation, are one of the most visually engaging elements on these maps, and yet they have never been carefully studied. The subject is important not only in the history of cartography, art, and zoological illustration, but also in the history of the geography of the marvellous and of western conceptions of the ocean. Moreover, the sea monsters depicted on maps can supply important insights into the sources, influences, and methods of the cartographers who drew or painted them. In this highly-illustrated book the author analyzes the most important examples of sea monsters on medieval and Renaissance maps produced in Europe, beginning with the earliest mappaemundi on which they appear in the tenth century and continuing to the end of the sixteenth century. Bookseller Inventory # LIO9780712358903

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