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This chapter begins with surveyors Alexander and James Gerard, and their attempts to prove that they had climbed higher than Alexander von Humboldt. In examining the measuring practices of East India Company surveyors, the chapter especially deals with moments when scientific instruments were found to be inadequate. These are revealing of the importance instruments played in establishing scientific authority in a world in which the senses were unreliable. This chapter firstly considers responses to damaged instruments, and attempts at repair. This is followed by a discussion of surveyors’ fieldbooks and inscriptive practices. It concludes with an examination of ongoing problems – both conceptual and material – with instruments designed in Europe by those with no experience of the Himalaya. The chapter argues that the staggered recognition of the true scale of the Himalaya reveals multiple levels of displacement in scientific practice: between those in the mountains, those in Calcutta and those in London. In so doing, it emphasises the laboriousness of the instrumental measurements necessary to impose, if incompletely, a form of universality that made global comparisons possible.
By dating two newly discovered Conrad drawings, Chapter 3 connects Conrad’s unfinished novel about a painter – The Sisters – to his interest in drawing. The Sisters is a much more complicated fragment than hitherto acknowledged. The text relates to contemporary debates, Conrad’s life and many of his works, both visual and verbal. Written during the advent of modern visual art, The Sisters is of further interest in its portrayal of Stephen as a modern artist. The metaphors on painting Conrad used in the Preface to The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’ relate to this discussion: they contextualize and oppose Stephen’s thoughts about what it means to be an artist, and delimit the extent to which Conrad embraced all notions of modernity and the so-called “end of art.”
Although doodling is a break from putting words on the page, it is not necessarily a pause from writing, because the process includes reflection. This chapter explores the ways doodling and writing may have intertwined for Conrad, who – like his characters Blunt, Razumov and Stevie – doodled; in the Shadow-Line holograph there are 109 doodles. By moving his doodles from the margins of the manuscript to the center of discussion, a visual portrait emerges of an artist for whom “procrastination” and productivity worked in delayed symbiosis.
What are the fingerprints of Joseph Conrad's fiction? This richly illustrated book argues that Conrad's vibrant details set him apart as a writer and brings them from the margins to the center for study. With recently discovered primary sources - including drawings and maps in Conrad's own hand - this book travels widely across Conrad's fiction and explores its interest in marginal voices, characters and details. It produces a new picture of Conrad as a writer, and the first picture of Conrad as an amateur sketch artist. Introducing new critical vocabulary and applying new names from art history to Conrad studies, the book ranges across cartography, fashion, analytic philosophy, manuscript studies, and animal studies to discover Conrad as an artist operating across and between different media. Offered as a complement to the abstract approaches of much literary theory, this detail-driven and margin-focused monograph mirrors the characteristic granular nature of Conrad's fiction.
The third part of the book, on “Place”, is made up of chapters grouped by their relation to matters of space and geography. Chapter 9 analyses the use of topographic, cartographic and antiquarian sources, amplifying the study made by the cartographic historian J.H. Andrews in 1960, which has never been supplanted. It extends Andrews’ coverage, which omitted the Scottish portions of the Tour, and considers its relation to other topographers not previously mentioned in this context, as well as the products of mapmakers such as Herman Moll and John Senex. The chapter supplies new evidence on the use Defoe made of maps, and offers a fuller comparison with the works of his principal rival, the Journey of John Macky (1714-23). Finally, this section endorses the verdict of Andrews, that “In spite of its weaknesses the ‘Tour’ remains a great pioneer work of economic geography.”
The underlying theme of this essay is how intelligence was gathered and expertise dispersed in an emerging colonial environment in Africa, and how that knowledge was captured, credited and distributed between local Africans and (largely) itinerant Europeans. It sets that discussion within a more recent debate on the mechanics of European exploration during the wider nineteenth century. The expanded population of Europeans (officials, merchants, missionaries) that arrived in the later part of that century to consolidate the colonial enterprise in German East Africa often moved with initial uncertainty through the landscape, triggering a demand for topographical knowledge to become commodified and commercialised, to become less dependent on the knowledge of individuals. This demand fuelled the production of an innovative series of standardised grid maps. At a time when slavery was still legal, when the local workforce was increasingly discussed in colonial circles in terms of unskilled plantation labour, our essay explores two case studies that demonstrate how certain African experts came to exert key technical and management influence within long-term scientific and commercial projects unfolding in the southeast corner of what is today Tanzania. The matter of water flows through this essay, and does so with deliberate intent.
This essay aims to address the structural barriers that deter the study of “Global Asias”—or even something smaller in scale, the study of the “Pacific”—in the context of the institutional split between Asian studies and Asian American studies.
Antarctica’s Pole of Inaccessibility (Southern Pole of Inaccessibility (SPI)) is the point on the Antarctic continent farthest from its edge. Existing literature exhibits disagreement over its location. Using two revisions of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research’s Antarctic Digital Database, we calculate modern-day positions for the SPI around 10 years apart, based on the position of the “outer” Antarctic coastline, i.e. its boundary with the ocean. These show that the position of the SPI in the year 2010 was around 83° 54’ S, 64° 53’ E, shifting on the order of 1 km per year as a result of changes of a similar magnitude in the Amery, Ronne-Filchner and Ross Ice Shelves. Excepting a position of the SPI calculated by British Antarctic Survey in 2005, to which it is very close, our newly calculated position differs by 150–900 km from others reported in the literature. We also consider the “inner” SPI, defined by the coastline with floating ice removed. The position of this SPI in 2010 is estimated as 83°37’ S, 53° 43’ E, differing significantly from other reported positions. Earlier cartographic data are probably not sufficiently accurate to allow its rate of change to be calculated meaningfully.
In spite of their long history of contact, exchange, and dialogue, Chinese and Latin American cultures constitute a challenge for comparative, transregional, and world-literary thought. By drawing on examples of literary and cultural contact between these two cultures that emerge through a closer look at the 1965 novel Farabeuf by Mexican writer Salvador Elizondo, this chapter will diagnose some of the challenges of comparative, relational, and world-literary methods. It models a transregional critique as a multi-scalar, poly-comparative approach to thinking about shared literary and cultural worlds: as histories marked by Orientalist fantasies, networks of literary circulation, translation, and influence, as well as by the challenges of literary worlding in the face of global power dynamics.
The idea of Europe first emerged in ancient Greece, featuring in the work of Hippocrates, Herodotus, and Aristotle, among others. The classical myth of Europa describes the abduction of an Asian princess by the king of the Greek gods, and the classical idea of Europe served to distinguish Hellenic culture from an Asian world viewed highly negatively as an enslaved collective ruled by autocrats. In imperial Rome, the idea of Europe served an important geopolitical purpose, underwriting Roman civilization as European. While the rise of Christianity led to the idea of Europe being elided in favor of that of Christendom as opposed to Islam, following the discovery of the New World the idea of Europe became ever more central to reflections on civilization and what was seen as Europe’s civilizing mission beyond its geographical borders. Chapter 1 focuses on the emergence of the idea of Europe in classical antiquity, before considering its role in late antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the early modern period, following the discovery of the Americas and the new sense of the European that arose at that time, as the idea of Europe and European civilization slowly came to displace that of Christendom.
Under French colonial rule, the region of the Maghreb emerged as distinct from two other geographical entities that, too, are colonial inventions: the Middle East and Africa. In this book, Abdelmajid Hannoum demonstrates how the invention of the Maghreb started long before the conquest of Algiers and lasted until the time of independence, and beyond, to our present. Through an interdisciplinary study of French colonial modernity, Hannoum examines how colonialism made extensive use of translations of Greek, Roman, and Arabic texts and harnessed high technologies of power to reconfigure the region and invent it. In the process, he analyzes a variety of forms of colonial knowledge including historiography, anthropology, cartography, literary work, archaeology, linguistics, and racial theories. He shows how local engagement with colonial politics and its modes of knowledge were instrumental in the modern making of the region, including in its postcolonial era, as a single unit divorced from Africa and from the Middle East.
In the 1920s, the Palestinian ethnographer Tawfiq Kan‘an examined the physical and narrative construction of Palestinian space by cataloguing the living archive of Palestinian sanctuaries. His collection of narratives, imbued in the sacred space of the “shrine, tomb, tree, shrub, cave, spring, well, rock [or] stone” is suggestive of cultural anthropologist Keith Basso’s elaboration of “place-making” as learned from the Western Apache. Articulating two modes of disruption, place-making narratives preserve indigenous culture in the face of colonial conquest and unsettle colonial paradigms of spatial belonging and exclusion. Despite the efforts of settler colonial erasure, this interpolative practice has been carried through Palestinian narrative traditions into the present. Raja Shehadeh’s Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape (2007) illustrates an indigenous mode of seeing, creating, and contesting spatial narratives, disclosing the role of place-making in contemporary Palestinian literature.
The goal of this article is to offer a formal account of region prepositions in French. We define region prepositions as prepositions that denote non-oriented locations and resist modification with measure phrases (e.g., au nez de in #dix metres au nez de l'avion ‘ten meters from (in front of) the tip of the airplane’). We show that region prepositions may involve items that include inflected markers or items involving “bare” markers (au bord de ‘at the edge of’ vs. à droite de ‘to the right of’). We analyze the relation between structure and semantic type to show that this distribution stems from the morpho-syntactic properties of their “internal location nouns” (e.g., nez, bord, droite, sommet). We offer a feature-driven analysis of these prepositions that hinges on a Lexical Syntax account and can capture all of the relevant data in a unified perspective. We conclude by discussing some theoretical consequences for accounts of spatial prepositions.
Thomas Simpson provides an innovative account of how distinctive forms of colonial power and knowledge developed at the territorial fringes of colonial India during the nineteenth century. Through critical interventions in a wide range of theoretical and historiographical fields, he speaks to historians of empire and science, anthropologists, and geographers alike. The Frontier in British India provides the first connected and comparative analysis of frontiers in northwest and northeast India and draws on visual and written materials from an array of archives across the subcontinent and the UK. Colonial interventions in frontier spaces and populations were, it shows, enormously destructive but also prone to confusion and failure on their own terms. British frontier administrators did not merely suffer 'turbulent' frontiers, but actively worked to generate and uphold these regions as spaces of governmental and scientific exception. Accordingly, India's frontiers became crucial spaces of imperial practice and imagination throughout the nineteenth century.
Frontiers became increasingly central to colonial spatial sciences as the nineteenth century progressed. Examining surveyors’ activities in the field along with the material processes by which maps were produced and circulated, this chapter analyses three broad junctures of frontier surveying based on distinct techniques of seeing and representing space. Route surveys of the 1820s to 1840s mostly gave way to triangulation from the 1850s on, and trigonometrical survey parties increasingly ventured into frontier regions from the later 1860s. By this later period, surveyors and ‘men of science’ in metropole and colony alike deemed comprehending frontier locales a key goal of imperial science. Agents of empire considered these regions as providing unparalleled opportunities, but also substantial challenges to established modes of spatial knowledge and representation. The chapter shows how this ambiguity reached a peculiar resolution, as many surveyors and geographers came to celebrate and to uphold the elusive quality of India’s frontiers.
This chapter reveals how the atlas as a cartographic format is more than a collection of maps. The British Atlas (1810) by John Britton and Edward Wedlake Brayely was published to accompany their The Beauties of England and Wales, a county-by-county survey with extensive letterpress illustrated by engraved views. Initially a highly commercial success as a national work during the war with France, The British Atlas was an integral part of Britton’s ambition to raise the reputation of topography as a cultural genre. The county maps and town plans were redrawn from the finest available surveys; packed with information and allusion, the plans in particular contained striking composite images. As so often in his career, Britton’s ambition ran ahead of his achievement, however. Complex and sometimes contentious relations between the various partners and contributors on The Beauties of England and Wales, including Britton and Brayley, affected research, authorship, design and production, and The British Atlas was unfinished, with just a fraction of the projected urban views published. The chapter details the ways in which the project’s fate was a familiar story of how material cartography with high production values and up-to-date information fared in the commercial market.
Romantic Cartographies is the first collection to explore the reach and significance of cartographic practice in Romantic-period culture. Revealing the diverse ways in which the period sought to map and spatialise itself, the volume also considers the engagement of our own digital cultures with Romanticism's 'map-mindedness'. Original, exploratory essays engage with a wide range of cartographic projects, objects and experiences in Britain, and globally. Subjects range from Wordsworth, Clare and Walter Scott, to Romantic board games and geographical primers, to reveal the pervasiveness of the cartographic imagination in private and public spheres. Bringing together literary analysis, creative practice, geography, cartography, history, politics and contemporary technologies – just as the cartographic enterprise did in the Romantic period itself – Romantic Cartographies enriches our understanding of what it means to 'map' literature and culture.
This essay examines the vexed history of Trelawney Town, Jamaica, from its grant by treaty in 1738 to Jamaica’s self-emancipated Maroons until its expropriation by the colonial state after the so-called Second Maroon War (1795–6). Maps provide evidence of the different ways Maroons and their colonial enemies understood territory and their relationship to it. As an imperial practice, cartography both determines state-sanctioned boundaries and distributes the ideological beliefs that enforce them. But it sometimes also records evidence of the way Maroons inhabited their territory. Close examination of pencil notations on maps produced to establish the boundaries of Trelawney Town and its environs reveal the refusal of Maroons to acknowledge their territory as a bounded space. With the inevitable encroachment of patented estates, they rebelled to assert their right to inhabit their territory as they saw fit. Through guile and terror, the colonial state prevailed against them, expropriating their territory and transporting the Trelawney Town Maroons to Nova Scotia. Later maps show the parcelling of their territory into 300-acre plots secured by a central military barracks. So prevails the proprietary space of capital: by force.
Teaching the history of the modern Middle East and North Africa at a small liberal arts university offered an opportunity to address student demands to “decolonize the curriculum.” As the survey course comes under increasing scrutiny, we asked where exactly is the Middle East located in our political imagination today? This essay focuses on the role of maps in rethinking geographic frameworks by using a seaborne perspective, that of the Mediterranean, Arabian and Red Seas (MARS) in contrast to the familiar Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
This article introduces a new analytical framework, ‘mythographic topography’. This approach recognizes the materiality of mythographic writing as preserved by the manuscript tradition and the significance of the spatial dynamics it produces. Mythographic topography encompasses both the formal properties of textual organization and how these shape the reader’s imaginative experience of space and narrative. As an analytical framework, it involves interrogating a text according to three categories (each an ancient meaning of topos): its arrangement of textual passages, its use of space and its activation of narrative tropes. Using the Metamorphoses of Antoninus Liberalis as a case study, we demonstrate how this text requires the reader to consider issues of order, disorder and reordering within a culturally familiar narrative paradigm.