Congratulations to Flynn Allott for publishing article on the Theatrum Urbium Italicarum

This article is an investigation into one book from the library of Robert Burton, the focus of my thesis’s second chapter. It is known that Burton was interested in maps and map-making, but this interest has never been studied in depth alongside the contents of his library, which survives in the Bodleian. In this article I show how Burton’s copy of the Theatrum Urbium Italicarum (1599), which one reader (perhaps Burton himself) inexplicably but tantalisingly cut many maps out of, changes our profile of the type of maps which Burton read, and as such nuances many of the more conceptual questions which have arisen from the intersection of Burton studies and geographical scholarship. It also attempts to exemplify a method of ‘reading around’ authors, using their personal libraries and interactions with books to illuminate conceptual and speculative questions about their work. 

This article is part of the research for my broader work towards a DPhil thesis on seventeenth-century prose-writing and map-making. In the thesis, I attempt to show how our reading of cartography’s impact on the period’s writing, especially its prose, changes substantially when we view cartography as a material process, involving many stages and agents, and not confined to the ‘final’ representation of territory on the page. What emerges is the picture of an understanding, in the seventeenth-century, of cartography as an integrated and complex technical system of research and knowledge-organisation, which could offer a range of techniques, both literal and analogical, for conceptualising the often-ill-defined activity of prose-writing. 

The article is open access, accessible here: