Today, we believe that the map is a copy of the Earth, without realizing that the opposite is true: in our culture the Earth has assumed the form of a map. In Blinding Polyphemus, Franco Farinelli elucidates the philosophical correlation between cultural evolution and shifting cartographies of modern society, giving readers an interdisciplinary study that attempts to understand and redefine the fundamental structures of cartography, architecture, and the notion of “space”.
Following the lessons of nineteenth-century critical German geography, this is a manual of geography without any map. To indicate where things are means already responding, in implicit and unreflective ways, to prior questions about their nature. Blinding Polyphemus not only takes account of the present state of the Earth and of human geography, it redefines the principal models we possess for the description of the world: the map, above all, as well as the landscape, subject, place, city, and space.
‘Through an incredible command of historical sources and classical analogies, the Italian geographer Franco Farinelli traces the victory of the two-dimensional map and the conception of perspectival space that it represents all the way back to Anaximander, if with a particular call-out to Ptolemy’s cartography, the rediscovery of which in Renaissance Europe was significant in further reducing the understanding of much of what today we call “geography” to “cartographic reason”. It is good to see that one of the most astute and accomplished geographers of his generation has finally had one of his landmark books translated into English.’ —The AAG Review of Books
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