- Digital Scholarship
Author and Research Scholar, Chet Van Duzer, to present Perilous Oceans: The Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps
Lecture and book signing to take place at the New Bedford Whaling Museum on Friday, June 6
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — The New Bedford Whaling Museum will host author and research scholar, Chet Van Duzer, on Friday, June 6, for a presentation on his book, Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps. The lecture takes place at 7 p.m., with a reception and book signing beginning at 6 p.m.
From dragons and serpents to many-armed beasts that preyed on ships and sailors alike, sea monsters have terrified mariners across all ages and cultures and have become the subject of many tall tales from the sea. Accounts of these creatures have also inspired cartographers and mapmakers, many of whom began decorating their maps with them to indicate unexplored areas or areas about which little was known. Whether swimming vigorously, gamboling amid the waves, attacking ships, or simply displaying themselves for our appreciation, the sea monsters that appear on medieval and Renaissance maps are fascinating and visually engaging. Yet despite their appeal, these monsters have never received the scholarly attention that they deserve.
Sea monsters are important not only in the history of cartography, art, and zoological illustration, but also in the history of the geography of the “marvelous” and of western conceptions of the ocean. Moreover, the sea monsters depicted on maps can supply important information about the sources, influences, and methods of the cartographers who drew or painted them.
On June 6, Van Duzer will present the history of sea monsters on medieval and Renaissance maps produced in Europe beginning with the earliest mappaemundi on which these monsters appear in the tenth century through the end of the sixteenth century. He will shed light on the sources, influences, and methods of the cartographers who drew or painted them.
This event is sponsored in part by the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University in Providence, R.I. It is free for Whaling Museum members and is $15 for non-members. To register, call 508-997-0064 ext. 100 or visit www.whalingmuseum.org.
About the Chet Van Duzer
Chet Van Duzer works on special projects in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress, and is an Invited Research Scholar at the John Carter Brown Library in Providence, Rhode Island. His book Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps was recently published by the British Library.
About the New Bedford Whaling Museum
The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the world's most comprehensive museum devoted to the global story of whales, whaling and the cultural history of the region. The cornerstone of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill in the heart of the city's historic downtown. Summer hours through October: Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.whalingmuseum.org.
Stephanie Poyant Moran
Senior Director of Marketing & Public Relations
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Office: 508-997-0046 x139