Jean-Marc Besse

Sui passi di Sebastian Münster. Pratiche dello spazio e scrittura geografica nel Rinascimento

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The preparation of the third edition of the Cosmographia universalis (1550) gave Sebastian Münster the opportunity to considerably enhance the descriptions contained in the original publication and to include additional illustrations, as well as to reconsider the structure of the work as a whole. The aim of this essay is to analyze the work of the cosmographer from Basle in relation to the concrete spaces in which he lived and worked: firstly, those spaces and places that Münster knew first hand, from his own travels; secondly, the spaces formed by the intellectual, religious and political networks of people within which he moved, and which he used to obtain information from places and countries that he could not visit in person; and thirdly, the site of the library and of the book itself. This analysis suggests that the amount of attention that the Cosmographia gives to different geographical spaces stands in direct relation to these three different kinds of spaces and the scales and kinds of observation they could offer to Münster: whereas the book seems to devote a disproportionally high amount of attention to the German countries and to the European continent, other geographical areas like the American continent obtain correspondingly little attention and appear as underrepresented.

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