The Geographic Revolution in Early America: Maps, Literacy, and National Identity / Edition 1 available in Paperback
- Pub. Date:
- Omohundro Institute and University of North Carolina Press
The rapid rise in popularity of maps and geography handbooks in the eighteenth century ushered in a new geographic literacy among nonelite Americans. In a pathbreaking and richly illustrated examination of this transformation, Martin Bruckner argues that geographic literacy as it was played out in popular literary genreswritten, for example, by William Byrd, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Royall Tyler, Charles Brockden Brown, Meriwether Lewis, and William Clarksignificantly influenced identity formation in America from the 1680s to the 1820s.
Drawing on historical geography, cartography, literary history, and material culture, Bruckner recovers a vibrant culture of geography consisting of property plats and surveying manuals, decorative wall maps and school geographies, the nation's first atlases, and sentimental objects such as needlework samplers. By showing how this geographic revolution affected the production of literature, Bruckner demonstrates that the internalization of geography as a kind of language helped shape the literary construction of the modern American subject. Empirically rich and provocative in its readings, The Geographic Revolution in Early America proposes a new, geographical basis for Anglo-Americans' understanding of their character and its expression in pedagogical and literary terms.
|Publisher:||Omohundro Institute and University of North Carolina Press|
|Series:||Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Martin Bruckner is associate professor of English at the University of Delaware.
What People are Saying About This
[The Geographic Revolution in Early America] is a well-written, engaging discussion of the intersections of geography, ideology, and nation-building in early America. . . . Bruckner makes an important contribution to the history of geography and reminds us of the importance of geography for the creation of the nation of the United States of America.Isis
Martin Bruckner maps the significance of geographical literacy and the circulation of geography books in the consolidation of American identities. The Geographic Revolution in Early America charts the complicated symbolics of a new nation attempting to move out of its colonial status and into independent nationhood. This is a groundbreaking study of the intertwined relationships between commodity capitalism and the environment, literacy and ideology.Cathy N. Davidson, Duke University
Convinces the reader of the importance of geography in establishing the mindset that led to continental expansion. . . . Carries conviction.Journal of Southern History
A book that contributes very positively to moving the study of maps, mapping and geography beyond the simple antinomies inherent in the study of mapping as a form of oppression.American Historical Review
A fascinating study of geographic knowledge and representation in early America.Journal of the Early Republic
Martin Bruckner's wide-ranging study offers a vibrant interdisciplinary account of the contribution of geographical literacy to the development of an Anglo-American cultural identity. From the perspectival revolution entailed in the growth of land surveying in colonial America to an examination of Lewis and Clark's discovery of the limits of geographical literacy, this book compellingly shows how it was not the land, but its increasingly diversified representations that shaped the enterprise of national self-expression, consolidation, and imperial expansion.Nancy Ruttenburg, New York University
Engagingly written and well illustrated, and adds further insight to that range of work on the power of geography, in its various sites, practices, and languages, as a means to national identity. It deserves to be widely read.Professional Geographer
Well produced. . . . A fine book that makes an important case for the role of geographic literacy in the creation of national identity.Winterthur Portfolio
A cross-disciplinary tour-de-force. Timely, imaginative, and well-written, it brings the map back into our understanding of early American literature, print culture, and national identity, and pushes us to remap all three. I'll never look at a plator a plotthe same way again.David Waldstreicher, Temple University
Bruckner not only presents new materials, but suggests how people came to read them. One could scarcely ask more from a work of cultural criticism.Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment