April 27, 2009 Interpretation of Renaissance Maps and Texts Is Subject of Book-Panel Discussion

Event Complements May 14-15 Symposium on 1507 Map That Named America

Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

The difficulties in researching and interpreting Renaissance texts and maps will be the subject of a Books and Beyond author discussion on Thursday, May 14, at 6:30 p.m. in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. The event, free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the Library’s Center for the Book and the Geography and Map Division.

The panelists, who come from a cross-disciplinary range of backgrounds, will discuss their various attitudes and theoretical approaches to the practice of Renaissance history and its relation to the 1507 World Map by Martin Waldseemüller. John Hébert, chief of the Geography and Map Division, will deliver opening remarks.

The panelists and their books:

• John Hessler, a senior reference librarian in the Geography and Map Division, is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and has written extensively on the history and mathematics of cartography. He is the author of “The Naming of America: Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 World Map and the Cosmographiae Introductio,” published by the Library of Congress in 2008. He is the recent recipient of a J.L. Heiberg Research and Exploration Fellowship and is currently studying the remains of Roman surveying and centuriation in Tunisia and southern France. He also runs the map analysis website www.warpinghistory.blogspot.com.

• Christine Johnson is an associate professor in the department of history at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the author of “The German Discovery of the World: Renaissance Encounters with the Strange and Marvelous,” published by the University of Virginia Press in 2008. She is currently a John W. Kluge Center fellow at the Library of Congress.

• Nicolás Wey-Gómez is an assistant professor of Hispanic studies at Brown University. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book “The Tropics of Empire: Why Columbus Sailed South to the Indies,” published by MIT Press in 2008. Wey-Gómez is working on a second book, titled “The Machine of the World: Nature’s Culture in the Early Spanish Colonial Americas,” which examines the moral authority of the natural sciences in the production of a highly politicized European ethnography in the Americas during the 16th century.

The Center for the Book was created in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books and reading. For information about its programs, publications and national reading-promotion networks, visit www.loc.gov/cfbook/.

The Library of Congress has the largest and most comprehensive collection of maps and atlases in the world, some 5.3 million cartographic items that date from the 14th century to the present time. The Library’s map collections contain coverage for every country and subject, and include the works of all the famous map-makers throughout history—Ptolemy, Waldseemüller, Mercator, Ortelius and Blaeu. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may be accessed through the Library’s website, www.loc.gov, and via interactive exhibitions on myLOC.gov.


PR 09-089
ISSN 0731-3527