Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226080659 Published January 2014
E-book $7.00 to $36.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226080796 Published January 2014


The Selden Map and the Making of a Global City, 1549-1689

Robert K. Batchelor

Robert K. Batchelor

344 pages | 43 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2013
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226080659 Published January 2014
E-book $7.00 to $36.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226080796 Published January 2014
If one had looked for a potential global city in Europe in the 1540s, the most likely candidate would have been Antwerp, which had emerged as the center of the German and Spanish silver exchange as well as the Portuguese spice and Spanish sugar trades. It almost certainly would not have been London, an unassuming hub of the wool and cloth trade with a population of around 75,000, still trying to recover from the onslaught of the Black Plague. But by 1700 London’s population had reached a staggering 575,000—and it had developed its first global corporations, as well as relationships with non-European societies outside the Mediterranean. What happened in the span of a century and half? And how exactly did London transform itself into a global city?
London’s success, Robert K. Batchelor argues, lies not just with the well-documented rise of Atlantic settlements, markets, and economies. Using his discovery of a network of Chinese merchant shipping routes on John Selden’s map of China as his jumping-off point, Batchelor reveals how London also flourished because of its many encounters, engagements, and exchanges with East Asian trading cities. Translation plays a key role in Batchelor’s study—translation not just of books, manuscripts, and maps, but also of meaning and knowledge across cultures—and Batchelor demonstrates how translation helped London understand and adapt to global economic conditions. Looking outward at London’s global negotiations, Batchelor traces the development of its knowledge networks back to a number of foreign sources and credits particular interactions with England’s eventual political and economic autonomy from church and King. 
London offers a much-needed non-Eurocentric history of London, first by bringing to light and then by synthesizing the many external factors and pieces of evidence that contributed to its rise as a global city. It will appeal to students and scholars interested in the cultural politics of translation, the relationship between merchants and sovereigns, and the cultural and historical geography of Britain and Asia.

“[F]ascinating. [Batchelor] shows how the skein of shipping routes on the Selden map were connected with the rise of London as a global city.”
Times Literary Supplement
“[F]ascinating. [Batchelor] shows how the skein of shipping routes on the Selden map were connected with the rise of London as a global city.”
Sarah Tyacke, London University | Journal of Historical Geography
"A palimpsest of layers of predominantly English and Asian history mediated through the libraries and map collecting of East Asian, especially Chinese material, by Europeans and especially in London and Oxford during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The result allows the author to describe the emergence of the city of London as the centre of global networks of financial and other exchanges. . . . Robert Batchelor has shown us new avenues of research in this field and has demonstrated its significance to oceanic and global history."
Haun Saussy, University of Chicago
“Robert K. Batchelor’s London renews the ‘origins of modernity’ debate. The time when London—rather than England—was a rising power saw a furor of translation and adaptation, long chains of influence visible only at their ends, and a degree of institutional creativity we can envy. With detail, passion, and curiosity Batchelor reconstructs the multipolar world of the first half of the seventeenth century, as plotted by men for whom knowledge was power.”

Philip J. Stern, Duke University
“In this stunningly detailed, engaging, and polyglot study, Robert K. Batchelor plots us a map of the early modern English encounter with Asia, triangulated among the intimately related enterprises of translation, cartography, and commercial and colonial expansion. Following the circulation of manuscripts and maps alongside merchants, missionaries, and marauders alike, this book finds a strikingly complex genealogy not only of John Selden’s remarkable map of China but of the development of London—and even modernity itself—in a seventeenth-century global context.”

John E. Wills Jr., University of Southern California
“In the course of a tumultuous seventeenth century, London changed from an energetic newcomer on the fringes of old Europe to a global center of trade, power, and interactive knowledge. In a work of amazing erudition and ambition, Robert K. Batchelor shows how new forms of organization and knowledge of more Asian histories and languages shaped this transformation.”
Steven Pincus, Yale University
“Robert K. Batchelor’s elegantly written and lavishly illustrated book is a remarkable achievement. He explains how changes in East Asia made London into a global city. In so doing he forces us to recalibrate our notions of the coming of modernity. Modernity in Batchelor’s hands emerges not from Europe but on a global scale and through translation rather than European imposition. This is an immensely learned and stimulating book that will provoke widespread reflection and debate.”

Introduction: Translating Asia
The View from the Library
The Global City
The Question of Translation
The Subject of the Book
1. The Global Corporation
1553: The Joint-Stock Company
Redefining the Translator
The Cosmographic Break
Asian Demands: The Emerging Silver Cycle
2. National Autonomy
1588: Reading a Chinese Map in London
Translating “China” and “Giapan”
Exchanging Chinese Maps
The State and Sovereign Space
3. The Value of History: Languages, Records, and Laws
1619: John Selden, Hugo Grotius, and East Asia
Legal Relations: Opening London to Asian Trade
Asian Libraries in London, Oxford, and Cambridge
The Selden Map
4. The Image of Absolutism
1661: Taming the Rebellious Emporium
Asia and the Problem of Restored Sovereignty
Absolutism and John Ogilby’s World Picture
Brokering the Absolutist Image: Interventions from Bombay and Taiwan
5. The System of the World
1687: Global Revolutions
The Search for New Translation Methods
The Newtonian System
Conclusion: Asia and the Making of Modern London
A Note on Manuscripts
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