Veronica della Dora, The Mantle of the Earth: Genealogies of a Geographical Metaphor – University of Chicago Press, December 2020

Veronica della Dora, The Mantle of the Earth: Genealogies of a Geographical Metaphor – University of Chicago Press, December 2020

The term mantle has inspired philosophers, geographers, and theologians and shaped artists’ and mapmakers’ visual vocabularies for thousands of years. According to Veronica della Dora, mantle is the “metaphor par excellence, for it unfolds between the seen and the unseen as a threshold and as a point of tension.” Featuring numerous illustrations, The Mantle of the Earth: Genealogies of a Geographical Metaphor is an intellectual history of the term mantle and its metaphorical representation in art and literature, geography and cartography. Through the history of this metaphor from antiquity to the modern day, we learn about shifting perceptions and representations of global space, about our planetary condition, and about the nature of geography itself.

Robert J. Mayhew, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol

“Probing the constellation of meanings that the earth’s mantle has thrown up in European and North American history from antiquity to the present day, della Dora offers nothing less than a genealogy of our attitudes to the earth and its environments. Polyglot, profound, and at times poetic, The Mantle of the Earthis an astonishing intellectual history with vital resonances to our present planetary condition.”

Stuart Elden, University of Warwick, author of “The Birth of Territory,” “Shakespearean Territories,” and “Canguilhem”

The Mantle of the Earth is an exceptional book. Thoroughly researched, endlessly interesting, and beautifully written, it takes a notion that seems straightforward and explores it in multiple insightful and productive ways. Its breadth is quite extraordinary. Della Dora also wears her learning lightly, until you start looking at the notes, which are staggeringly erudite. Fabulous.”

Charles W. J. Withers, Geographer Royal for Scotland, professor emeritus, University of Edinburg

“An ambitious, wide-ranging, and detailed inquiry into a compellingly evident (yet underexamined) topic, namely, the metaphor of the earth’s mantle (or veil) and the intellectual genealogy and representational geography of this term. Notions of fabrication—in weaving; in the textures of surfaces; and in maps, as veils and as substantive forms of earthly representation—are employed with ease and insight. Clear, with hardly a word of jargon and numerous well-chosen illustrations that help illuminate the text, The Mantle of the Earth is impressive in its scholarly depth and range.”

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