Mariners, Maps and Metaphors: Lucas Waghenaer and the Poetics of Navigation

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue (Academic Journal)peer-review


Early modern books about navigation are often difficult to navigate. As the paratexts of the English edition of Lucas Waghenaer’s The Mariners Mirrour (1588) suggest, a reader is likely to be confounded by the troubling experiential gap that exists between a printed account and an encounter with the sea itself. In The Mariners Mirrour, both Waghenaer and Anthony Ashley, the English translator, use prefaces and dedicatory letters to conceptually prepare and orientate their audience. They posit the need for an active reader who is self-consciously engaged in the process of making knowledge and who is receptive to the figurative way that space is represented in their work. In addition, a poem attributed to Janus Dousa, printed alongside the prose prefaces of The Mariners Mirrour, places figurative expression at the heart of knowledge making practices, illuminating the ways in which early modern arts of navigation often relied on the interaction of techne and poiesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-47
Number of pages14
JournalSwiss Papers in English Language and Literature
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2013

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