Postcolonial Mappae Mundi

John Thieme (Università dell’East Anglia (Gran Bretagna))


After a brief consideration of some of the ways in which cartography has operated through the ages, this article discusses the maps mentioned in the first part of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and references to maps in the work of three postcolonial writers: Jamaica Kincaid, Amitav Ghosh and Derek Walcott. It suggests that the postcolonial texts display a distinctive cartographical vision, which rethinks the way spaces are imaginatively constructed. Different though they are from one another, the three postcolonial writers considered particularly foreground the personal cognitive aspects of mapping and, explicitly or implicitly, challenge the totalizing, supposedly authoritative versions of world geography that characterize maps of Empire and Western cartography more generally.


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