When France was King of Cartography: The Patronage and Production of Maps in Early Modern France

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Lexington Books, 2007 - History - 215 pages
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Geographical works, as socially constructed texts, provide a rich source for historians and historians of science investigating patronage, the governmental initiatives and support for science, and the governmental involvement in early modern commerce. Over the course of nearly two centuries (1594-1789), in adopting and adapting maps as tools of statecraft, the Bourbon Dynasty both developed patron-client relations with mapmakers and corporations and created scientific institutions with fundamental geographical goals. Concurrently, France--particularly, Paris--emerged as the dominant center of map production. Individual producers tapped the traditional avenues of patronage, touted the authority of science in their works, and sought both protection and legitimation for their commercial endeavors within the printing industry. Under the reign of the Sun King, these producers of geographical works enjoyed preeminence in the sphere of cartography and employed the familiar rhetoric of image to glorify the reign of Louis XIV. Later, as scientists and scholars embraced Enlightenment empiricism, geographical works adopted the rhetoric of scientific authority and championed the concept that rational thought would lead to progress. When France Was King of Cartography investigates over a thousand maps and nearly two dozen map producers, analyzes the map as a cultural artifact, map producers as a group, and the array of map viewers over the course of two centuries in France. The book focuses on situated knowledge or 'localized' interests reflected in these geographical productions. Through the lens of mapmaking, When France Was King of Cartography examines the relationship between power and the practice of patronage, geography, and commerce in early modern France.

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Page 10 - All maps strive to frame their message in the context of an audience. All maps state an argument about the world and they are propositional in nature. All maps employ the common devices of rhetoric such as invocations of authority (especially in "scientific...
Page 16 - ... of their natures, and that in a warme studie or perler, without perill of the see, or daunger of longe and paynfull iournayes : I can nat tell what more pleasure shulde happen to a gentil witte, than to beholde in his owne house euery thynge that with in all the worlde is contained. The commoditie therof knewe the great kynge Alexander, as some writars do remembre. For he caused the countrayes wherunto he purposed any enterprise, diligently and counningly to be discribed and paynted, that, beholdynge...
Page 10 - In the case of both these examples of rules, the point I am making is that the rules operate both within and beyond the orderly structures of classification and measurement. They go beyond the stated purposes of cartography. Much of the power of the map, as a representation of social geography, is that it operates behind a mask of a seemingly neutral science. It hides and denies its social dimensions at the same time as it legitimates.
Page 15 - ... or weakness of the town or fortress, which he intendeth to assault. And that which is most specially to be considered, in visiting his own dominions, he shall set them out in figure, in such wise, that at his eye shall appear to him, where he shall employ his study and treasure, as well for the safeguard of his country, as for the commodity and honor thereof, having at all times in his sight the surety and feebleness, advancement and hinderance of the same.

About the author (2007)

Christine M. Petto is professor of history at Southern Connecticut State University.

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