cover of book

In the Memory of the Map: A Cartographic Memoir
by Christopher Norment
University of Iowa Press, 2012
eISBN: 978-1-60938-096-0 | Paper: 978-1-60938-077-9
Library of Congress Classification GA102.3.N67 2011
Dewey Decimal Classification 526

Throughout his life, maps have been a source of imagination and wonder for Christopher Norment. Mesmerized by them since the age of eight or nine, he found himself courted and seduced by maps, which served functional and allegorical roles in showing him worlds that he might come to know and helping him understand worlds that he had already explored.

Maps may have been the stuff of his dreams, but they sometimes drew him away from places where he should have remained firmly rooted. In the Memory of the Map explores the complex relationship among maps, memory, and experience—what might be called a “cartographical psychology” or “cartographical history.” Interweaving a personal narrative structured around a variety of maps, with stories about maps as told by scholars, poets, and fiction writers, this book provides a dazzlingly rich personal and intellectual account of what many of us take for granted.

A dialog between desire and the maps of his life, an exploration of the pleasures, utilitarian purposes, benefits, and character of maps, this rich and powerful personal narrative is the matrix in which Norment embeds an exploration of how maps function in all our lives. Page by page, readers will confront the aesthetics, mystery, function, power, and shortcomings of maps, causing them to reconsider the role that maps play in their lives.

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