Saturday 16 October 2021

A Mapmaker's Dream

Finished October 15
A Mapmaker's Dream: The Meditations of Fra Mauro, Cartographer to the Court of Venice: a novel by James Cowan

This book is a fictionalized tale of a real man. Fra Mauro was a monk at San Michele di Murano who lived in the first half of the 15th century and created the most detailed and accurate map of the world for his time. 
The Fra Mauro of this book lives in the sixteenth century and so is familiar with some of the men who sailed widely and discovered new lands and routes of the time. This book is written as a collection of meditations of that man, talking about the men who've visited him and the types of information that they've shared. Some of them have shared geographic information, but others share philosophical and spiritual experiences, causing him to also have deeper thoughts on these subjects. So this is also a novel of self-reflection. The introduction says that the author came across these writings when doing research on someone else, and was first distracted and then enraptured by these and translated them into English. But as you may note from the cover this is a novel, so there is uncertainty about what is real and what isn't, besides the change of when the narrator lived. 

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