Abysmal: A Critique of Cartographic Reason by Gunnar Olsson

By Gunnar Olsson

Humans depend upon cause to consider and navigate the summary international of human family members in a lot an analogous approach they depend on maps to review and traverse the actual international. ranging from that easy statement, popular geographer Gunnar Olsson deals in Abysmal an astonishingly erudite critique of how human idea and motion became deeply immersed within the rhetoric of cartography and the way this cartographic reasoning permits the strong to map out different people’s lives.A spectacular examining of Western philosophy, faith, and mythology that pulls on early maps and atlases, Plato, Kant, and Wittgenstein, Thomas Pynchon, Gilgamesh, and Marcel Duchamp, Abysmal is itself a minimalist consultant to the terrain of Western tradition. Olsson roams commonly yet constantly returns to the issues inherent in cause, to question the outmoded assumptions and stuck principles that pondering cartographically includes. a piece of ambition, scope, and sharp wit, Abysmal will attract an eclectic audience—to geographers and cartographers, but additionally to a person attracted to the background of principles, tradition, and artwork. (20061024)

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And speak it did, more exactly at midday on June 21 of an unknown year, the historical moment at which Eratosthenes, gnomon in hand, stepped out of the Library and into the sun. 2/360 ϭ 1/50). Since everyone who counted knew that at that same hour there was no shadow at Syene—a place believed to lie on the same meridian as Alexandria—it was accepted that the distance 29 30 M A P P I N G S between the two places was one fiftieth of the distance around the earth. Translating that relative measure into an absolute number was straightforward, for most travelers agreed that a camel caravan, which on the average moves 5,000 stadia per day, needed 50 days to cover the distance between the two cities.

Nothing unusual about that, for as Thomas Pynchon reports from the Company Lodge at Cape Town at a time shortly after Venus’s transgression in 1761, Many who have been to Rooms forbidden the others, report seeing, inside these, a Door to at least one Room further, which may not be opened. The Penetralia of the Lodge are thus, even to those employed there, a region without a map. Anything may be there. . Madness will visit by surprize, taking away to its Realm of Voices and Pain even a mind in the rosiest of sanity.

34 * Lines and labels. Those were Ptolemy’s terms for what modern semioticians call visual marks and proper names. Sounds like a poststructuralist to me. And like a cubist painter he sensed that no one but a man skilled in the imitative art of drawing can picture a hydra with many faces and hidden arses. One problem solved, another created as the smoke from the sacrificial burning was seeping into the room instead of passing through the chimney. And thus it was that Emerson smoaked it all right away.

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