Cartographic HumanismThe Making of Early Modern Europe

Cartographic HumanismThe Making of Early Modern Europe

Katharina N. Piechocki

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9780226641188

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


What is “Europe,” and when did it come to be? While in the Renaissance the term “Europe” circulated widely, the continent itself was only in the making in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Cartographic Humanism sheds new light on how humanists negotiated and defined Europe’s boundaries at a momentous shift in the continent’s formation: when a new imagining of Europe was driven by the rise of cartography. This tool of geography, philosophy, and philology was used not only to represent but, more importantly, also to shape and promote an image of Europe quite unparalleled in previous centuries. Engaging with poets, historians, and mapmakers, this study resists an easy categorization of the continent, scrutinizing Europe as an unexamined category that demands a much more careful and nuanced investigation than scholars of early modernity have hitherto undertaken. Cartographic Humanism charts new itineraries across Europe from the perspective of comparative literature. It aims for a wide geographic scope, bringing France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Portugal into a lively, interdisciplinary dialogue.