Michael Patrick Brady

Books

Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline

April 9, 2010

Time

My review of Cartographies of Time by Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton ran today at PopMatters.

This big book is a look back at the development of visual representations of time and history, filled with vivid, impressive illustrations and an enlightening narrative pulling it all together. In some ways it bears a resemblance to The Fourth Part of the World in that it depicts the evolution of a form of charting and navigating time and space. It also has a slight connection to The Invention of Air, as it deals with the very versatile Joseph Priestley, exploring his pivotal role in setting a graphical standard for timelines that endured for many years.

The book also introduced me to Sebastian Adams’ A Chronological Chart of Ancient, Modern, and Biblical History, a sprawling, 40-foot long banner that seemingly includes every last drop of history as conceived by the people of the 19th century. It’s truly amazing, although Cartographies of Time strains to show it properly as it is so large. It’s difficult to make out some of the finer details. I must have this for my wall.

Buy Cartographies of Time at Amazon.com

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