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FW: Book Review - Envisioning the City (cartography)

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    ... From: Danny Yee [mailto:danny@ANATOMY.USYD.EDU.AU] Sent: Sunday, April 30, 2000 12:55 AM To: ANTHRO-L@LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU Subject: Book Review -
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2000
      FW: Book Review - Envisioning the City (cartography)

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Danny Yee [mailto:danny@...]
      Sent: Sunday, April 30, 2000 12:55 AM
      To: ANTHRO-L@...
      Subject: Book Review - Envisioning the City (cartography)

      An HTML version of this book review can be found at
      along with five hundred other reviews.

           title: Envisioning the City
                : Six Studies in Urban Cartography
          edited: David Buisseret
       publisher: The University of Chicago Press 1998
           other: 181 pages, references, b&w halftones, index

      If you are, as I am, fascinated by maps of cities (from the imaginary
      ones in fantasy novels to modern street directories), then _Envisioning
      the City_ should appeal.  The six studies it contains are academic
      papers, but accessible to those without a background in cartography
      or urban planning.  While they go into the details of individual maps,
      they also provide the background needed to put them in context.

      Four of the studies are of early modern Europe.  Naomi Miller describes
      a collection of maps (of leading Italian and Islamic cities) added in
      the Renaissance to manuscripts of Ptolemy's _Geography_.  She gives a
      general introduction to Renaissance city plans and their antecedents,
      followed by descriptions of the nine or ten maps in the collection.
      In a study of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain, Richard Kagan
      distinguishes depictions of the city as _urbs_ (a physical city)
      and _civitas_ (a community).  The latter vision predominated, often
      associated with religious symbolism and civic pride, while more accurate
      chorographic representations were mostly produced by outsiders or for
      military purposes.  Martha Pollak writes on the importance of military
      architecture and cartography in early modern Europe, concluding that
      "historic urban cartography is indelibly linked with military strategy
      and planning".  And David Buisseret's own "Modelling Cities in Early
      Modern Europe" surveys the history of relief plans (such as those in
      the collection in the Musee des Invalides in Paris).

      The opening and closing papers in _Envisioning the City_ extend its
      temporal and geographical reach considerably.  In "Mapping the Chinese
      City: The Image and the Reality", Nancy Steinhardt presents some examples
      of early Chinese city plans and traces their connections with other
      aspects of culture, notably with calligraphy and painting.  "Mapmaking in
      premodern China was not a technical exercise striving toward accuracy but
      an art among elite arts in which service of state and associated lofty
      purpose of virtue can supersede truth."  And Gerald Danzer describes
      Burnham and Bennett's 1909 _Plan of Chicago_, sketching the background
      of its authors and then analysing some aspects of its layout.


      %T      Envisioning the City
      %S      Six Studies in Urban Cartography
      %E      Buisseret, David
      %I      The University of Chicago Press
      %C      Chicago
      %D      1998
      %O      hardcover, b&w halftones, index
      %G      ISBN 0-226-07993-7
      %P      xiii,181pp
      %U      http://www.press.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/hfs.cgi/00/13462.ctl
      %K      geography, history of ideas

      30 April 2000

              Copyright (c) 2000 Danny Yee <editor@...>
              Danny Yee's Book Reviews      http://dannyreviews.com/

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