Describing an era of exploration during the Renaissance that went far beyond geographic bounds, this book shows how the evidence of the New World shook the foundations of the old, upsetting the authority of the ancient texts that had guided Europeans so far afield. What Anthony Grafton recounts is a war of ideas fought by mariners, scientists, publishers, and rulers over a period of 150 years. In colorful vignettes, published debates, and copious illustrations, we see these men and their contemporaries trying to make sense of their discoveries as they sometimes confirm, sometimes contest, and finally displace traditional notions of the world beyond Europe.
Anthony Grafton is the author of The Footnote, Defenders of the Text, Forgers and Critics, and Inky Fingers, among other books. The Henry Putnam University Professor of History and the Humanities at Princeton University, he writes regularly for the New York Review of Books.
April Shelford is a graduate student in history at Princeton University.
Nancy Siraisi is Distinguished Professor of History at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.