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Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps (hardback)

Published Date:
May 2013
British Library Publishing
Bibliographic Details:
Hardback, 144 pages, 240 x 220mm, including 115 colour illustrations
Chet Van Duzer
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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 Chet Van Duzer analyses 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.

About the author
Chet Van Duzer is a Kislak Fellow at the Library of Congress. He is the author of Johann Schoner's Globe of 1515: Transcription and Study (2010) and co-author with John Hessler of Seeing the World Anew: The Radical Vision of Martin Waldseemuller's 1507 & 1516 World Maps (forthcoming).

'Beautifully illustrated, this is a book full of strange and wondrous discoveries.'
The Good Book Guide
`Those aquatic behemoths and their origins are collected in cartographical guru Chet Van Duzer’s wonderful new book, Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps, an indepth dissection of ancient maps and sea beasts from days past`
Andrew Belonsky, Unexpectedly Awesome: Medieval Sea Monsters,
`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, TLS
`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, The Marine Quarterly 11
`Van Duzer has written an unparalleled study on a wondrous and often overlooked medieval and renaissance artistic tradition. 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, Nautical Research Journal December 2013
'...the most comprehensive work regarding sea monsters on cartographic materials... the book is beautifully illustrated. Van Duzer clearly establishes the many uses and origins of sea monsters on maps, and his text will become the standard book on this topic.`
Nate Probasco, WAML Information Bulletin 45 (1) November 2013

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