Mapping the Novel

deadline for submissions: 
September 15, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
ASECS 2017
contact email: 

Amidst growing population and urban redevelopment, eighteenth-century cartographers turned to maps to structure the changing size and shape of cities. For example, topographical maps provided readers with details that visually enclosed and contained the increasing sprawl of a rebuilding London. Textual surveys, by such cartographers as William Stow, used narrative prose to expand the topographical view in order to show “where every Street, Lane, Court, Alley…or any other Place…is situated.” These maps and surveys flooded the market in the 1740s, the decade which also witnessed the intensifying growth of the novel. This panel investigates the ways that maps – visual and textual – informed the development of the novel by providing it with the spatial vocabulary and awareness that helped novelists re-create a textual metropolitan within which their protagonists lived, travelled, and died. Because many early novels took place in fully realized and textual urban sites, the extent to which authors consulted maps and surveys to situate their narratives tells us much about how they used representations of space to contain or expand their narratives. This seminar welcomes submissions that focus on London or other eighteenth-century cities and that examine how authors used maps and topographical information to structure their novels.