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Staging the Southern Continent 1565-1606

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2003
<mark>Journal</mark>The Globe
Number of pages10
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The classical idea of Totus Mundus Agit Histrionem ("all the world is a stage") pervades many maps produced during the early modern period. The theatricality of the world is of special interest in relation to the mythical Southern Continent. For as long as the Pacific remained uncharted, geographical discoveries and fantasy interacted in the construction or invention of this large area of the world. The maps looked at in this paper are cultural, social and spatial representations that stand at the threshold between the moralized geography prevalent in the Middle Ages and the post-enlightenment representations with which we are now familiar. Thus, many early modern maps present a vision of the world that is both moral and geographical. Reality and fantasy merge in the histrionic representation of the world as a stage that influences the mapping of the Pacific at the time the journeys of Alvaro Menda a and Pedro Fern ndez de Quir s took place between 1567 and 1606. Reinforced by a view of life as representation, and of the world as a stage where humans follow the designs of divine destiny, these maps, like the narratives that often accompanied them, create a universe where fiction and reality are representation both for the actors and for the viewers.