Call for Papers: The Intermingling of Cartography and Literature in the Early Modern Period

by Chet Van Duzer

This conference, which we will apply to hold at the Huntington Library east of Los Angeles, creates a unique opportunity for mutual inspiration between historians of cartography and scholars of literature.

The conversation will set cartography and literature on equal footing and explore the ways in which visual and narrative representations of space work in tandem to create real or imaginary spaces.

Although several recent contributions explore the relationships between maps and literature, our aim is to investigate the late medieval and Early Modern period––a timeframe that merits further investigation––and to invite contributions from non-European cartographic and literary traditions.

How have authors drawn inspiration from maps for their descriptions of distant lands? What elements have they incorporated from maps into narratives? How can cartographic representations of space be read as narrative? What are compelling examples of the multifarious uses that cartographers have made of literary sources? How have literary authors drawn upon cartographic place names, shapes, boundaries, images, and spaces to create a diegetic world? How have literary descriptions not only of places, but also of animals, plants, and peoples influenced cartographic depictions of the world?

This meeting will present readings that propose new methodological strategies of interpretation while also reflecting upon the historical and material evidence that brings cartography and literature into contact.

We believe that the Huntington Library, with its rich collection of historical maps and literary manuscripts, is a particularly suitable setting for this conference.

We anticipate that the papers from this conference will be published together in an edited volume that we have tentatively titled Cartography and Literature in the Early Modern Period.

We invite for review a short abstract of 300-400 words that gives a title, a general idea of your contribution, and full contact details.

Please also send a recent CV; scholars of any rank or position are invited to participate.

Proposals are not restricted to any particular regional tradition or geographic area, and we will consider topics as late as 1700.

Send these materials by January 3, 2021, to Stephen P. McCormick ( and Chet Van Duzer (