Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226288796 Published October 2015
E-book $10.00 to $45.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226288826 Published October 2015 Also Available From

The Worldmakers

Global Imagining in Early Modern Europe

Ayesha Ramachandran

The Worldmakers

Ayesha Ramachandran

312 pages | 18 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2015
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226288796 Published October 2015
E-book $10.00 to $45.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226288826 Published October 2015
In this beautifully conceived book, Ayesha Ramachandran reconstructs the imaginative struggles of early modern artists, philosophers, and writers to make sense of something that we take for granted: the world, imagined as a whole. Once a new, exciting, and frightening concept, “the world” was transformed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. But how could one envision something that no one had ever seen in its totality?
 
The Worldmakers moves beyond histories of globalization to explore how “the world” itself—variously understood as an object of inquiry, a comprehensive category, and a system of order—was self-consciously shaped by human agents. Gathering an international cast of characters, from Dutch cartographers and French philosophers to Portuguese and English poets, Ramachandran describes a history of firsts: the first world atlas, the first global epic, the first modern attempt to develop a systematic natural philosophy—all part of an effort by early modern thinkers to capture “the world” on the page.
Review Quotes
Journal of Historical Geography
The Worldmakers is a lucid, elegant addition to our understanding of the genealogy of our attitudes to the globe and to our picture of the history of the geographical and intellectual culture of the Renaissance.”
Spenser Review
“Anything Ayesha Ramachandran writes is worth reading for her rich intellectual responses to her topics, for her learning, and for the elegance of her prose. The Worldmakers is a fruitful, masterful book.”
British Journal for the History of Science
The Worldmakers demonstrates how scientific advances in the early modern period shaped European concepts of God, nation and self. It provides a fresh perspective from which to evaluate the motivations behind the worldmaking project, and its ensuing implications for the epistemology of the modern age. Those interested in the impact of early modern science on literature and philosophy will find it a stimulating read.”
Renaissance Quarterly
"The Worldmakersi s an astonishingly ambitious book."
William J. Kennedy, Cornell University
"The Worldmakers makes a powerful intervention into the early modern literary study of epic poetry and essayistic and philosophical prose; into conceptions of 'world' within those genres as well as in the Western history of ideas; into conceptions of modernity governing Western science, philosophy, literature, and ethics; and, not least, into the postcolonial project of decentering European culture through a globalized view of the world. Among recent books on these topics, it joins the fine company of such works as Roland Greene's Five Words and Timothy Hampton's Fictions of Embassy. Ramachandran approaches the task from her own distinctive perspective, based in fine-grained literary analysis with a firm grasp of cultural and intellectual history and the theoretical consequences that follow from juxtaposing texts against the history."
Gordon Braden, University of Virginia
"The Worldmakers is an impressive, wide-ranging, beautifully researched book with a skillfully articulated argument about a momentous shift in 'global imaginings' in early modern thought and literature. The topic is one that could easily become vague and elusive, but Ramachandran succeeds time and time again in giving it clear focus and definition. In the process, she also makes genuinely fresh, compelling critical statements about some major, much-studied texts and authors."
British Society for Literature and Science Reviews
"Ramachandran lays out her argument and buttresses it through a series of five case histories sandwiched between a brief introduction and even shorter conclusion. As in all good sandwiches, the bread is fine but the really good stuff is in the middle....As might be expected of a work of such scope, The Worldmakers is not an easy read; it requires many readings to fully appreciate the riches it has to offer. To return to the sandwich analogy for a second, a single bite may feel like too much, more than one can comfortably chew. But with each layer offering a completely different dimension of flavour and texture, one really does need to read all the parts lest they miss certain elements altogether."

Modern Language Association: MLA-Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies
Won

Sixteenth Century Society and Conference: SCSC Founders Prize
Won

View Recent Awards page for more award winning books.
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style |

Chicago Blog: Cartography and Geography

Events in Cartography and Geography

Keep Informed

JOURNALs