I'm writing an article at the moment on the joys of getting lost which means I am happily spending hours exploring maps and thinking how people navigate round themselves. The Strange Maps blog from which the map above, and the description right at the bottom of this post, comes from is particularly good for frittering away time.
And I'm also enjoying re-reading Rebecca Solnit's A Field Guide to Getting Lost. Here's one of the many quotes from that book I've copied out:
The question then is how to get lost. Never to get lost is not to live, not to know how to get lost brings you to destruction, and somewhere in the terra incognita in between lies a life of discovery.
Beautiful. I want more and more to enjoy a life of discovery.
And here's the description of the map illustrated here:
“The American Geographical Society Library has acquired an extremely rare and unusual map, The Man of Commerce, published in 1889 in Superior, Wisconsin. The highly detailed 31” x 50” map/chart conflates human anatomy with the American transportation system, in an apparent attempt to promote Superior as a transportation hub.”
“Its metaphor makes West Superior ‘the center of cardiac or heart circulation’; the railways become major arteries; and New York is ‘the umbilicus through which this man of commerce was developed’. “
“The explanatory notes conclude: ‘It is an interesting fact that in no other portion of the known world can any such analogy be found between the natural and artificial channels of commerce and circulatory and digestive apparatus of man’. “
“Only one other copy of this map is known to exist. The map’s cartographer was A.F. McKay; the publisher (probably) Land & River Improvement Co.; and the printer Rand, McNally and Co.”