Maps and Exploration: the Hakluyt Edition Project

November 6, 2012

The CEMS works in progress series on ‘maps and exploration’ continued with a presentation on ‘Editing Hakluyt’  by Professor Daniel Carey, National University of Ireland, Galway. Professor Carey outlined the daunting tasks facing the editing of The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries of the English Nation (second edition, 1598–1600), a massive work of some 1.76 million words which will run to fourteen volumes and involve a large editorial team. He explained how Hakluyt’s materials overrode any clear schema, making it hard to establish divisions between the volumes. Hakluyt’s title, however, did strike an innovative note in its insistence on national identity, and he tried to equate English explorations in the north with the Spanish and Portuguese in the west. His interest in exploration was not matched by an interest in maps, and it was difficult for the editors to include modern maps which would not correspond to his own understanding of the world; but his catalogues of places could themselves serve to orient readers. We can look forward to the edition in three groups of multiple volumes; meantime some preliminary essays have been published.

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