Anyone interested in carto-bibliographies should consider this book. It is very helpful in identifying variant editions of maps, and achieves good marks for attention to detail. Coverage is of printed maps relating to Canada, from Munster's New World to De L'Isle's Carte du Canada, including variant editions and derivative maps.
The author gives preference to maps that are exclusively or primarily Canadian. Thus, under Sanson, we see Le Canada, but not l'Amerique Septentrionale, even though the latter is the first printed map to show five separate Great Lakes. Similarly, for Coronelli he includes the Coronelli-Nolin maps of New France, the north polar cap gore for a 100 cm. globe and La Louisiana, Parte Settentrionale, but not the magnificent gore extending from Hudson's Bay to the mouth of the Mississippi River. Several other notable maps are left out, such as those of North America by Zaltieri and by De Jode, the exclusion of which the author would probably justify on the grounds they are covered elsewhere in the literature. The 321 entries from approximately 80 map-makers are arranged by subject: New World, Arctic Canada, Jesuit influenced maps, etc., and chronologically within the subject. Each listing contains detailed information enabling readers to identify and date loose maps.
Regrettably, an index of map-makers is lacking, though they are named in the table of contents for each chapter. There are seven appendices to aid quick identification of edition and state for some better-known maps plus a title index. The 207 black-and-white plates range in size from one-third page to double page. They appear to be digitized and many are fuzzy with unreadable text. This is frustrating as frequent reference is made to the illustrations. A conspicuous example is plate 202 which shows cartouches for several states of De L'Isle's Carte du Canada. The text is barely readable on several cartouches, and the decorative surrounds range from fairly clear to muddy gray. While most illustrations are adequate for purposes of identification, they are not up to the standard one would expect in a book on which so much effort has been expended. What is clear is that the illustration technology used here is one whose time has not yet come and which lacks the dignity of conventional photography.
The commentary provides a good capsule history of European discovery and exploration of Canada. The selected bibliography is modest (41 items), but well chosen. The text reflects the time and effort that the author, an experienced dealer, has put into this book. It is a practical reference for dealers, collectors and librarians who need to identify and/or catalog loose maps. Despite problems with illustrations, some idiosyncracies of selection and lack of a suitable cartographer index, this is a useful addition to the literature and recommended for those interested in early mapping of Canada, the Arctic, the Great Lakes or the northeastern United States.
Jon K. Rosenthal, 1994
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