This essay shows that small-format cartography of the English Renaissance fostered a geographical imagination that placed nonelites at the heart of the nation's collective identity. Cheap maps, guides, and atlases — a staple of the popular print market — were public forms of cultural capital that charted England as the domain of the commonwealth rather than the Crown. This archive, which has been neglected in favor of beautifully illustrated, large-format cartography, reveals very different conceptions of how space, place, and nationhood intersected. At the dawn of the realm's transition into a modern nation-state, these cheap prints recalibrated the English topography to accommodate an expansive body politic. The essay ends with an exploration of how old and new archival research methods may together be deployed to continue excavating the material evidence of England's ordinary Renaissance.
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Research Article| May 01 2017
Katarzyna Lecky; Archiving Ordinary Experience: Small-Format Cartography of the English Renaissance. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 May 2017; 47 (2): 359–390. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-3846371
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