What does history look like? How do you draw time?
From the most ancient images to the contemporary, the line has served as the central figure in the representation of time. The linear metaphor is ubiquitous in everyday visual representations of time--in almanacs, calendars, charts, and graphs of all sorts. Even our everyday speech is filled with talk of time having a "before" and an "after" or being "long" and "short." The timeline is such a familiar part of our mental furniture that it is sometimes hard to remember that we invented it in the first place. And yet, in its modern form, the timeline is not even 250 years old. The story of what came before has never been fully told, until now.
Cartographies of Time is the first comprehensive history of graphic representations of time in Europe and the United States from 1450 to the present. Authors Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton have crafted a lively history featuring fanciful characters and unexpected twists and turns. From medieval manuscripts to websites, Cartographies of Time features a wide variety of timelines that in their own unique ways--curving, crossing, branching--defy conventional thinking about the form. A fifty-four-foot-long timeline from 1753 is mounted on a scroll and encased in a protective box. Another timeline uses the different parts of the human body to show the genealogies of Jesus Christ and the rulers of Saxony. Ladders created by missionaries in eighteenth-century Oregon illustrate Bible stories in a vertical format to convert Native Americans. Also included is the April 1912 Marconi North Atlantic Communication chart, which tracked ships, including the Titanic, at points in time rather than by their geographic location, alongside little-known works by famous figures, including a historical chronology by the mapmaker Gerardus Mercator and a chronological board game patented by Mark Twain. Presented in a lavishly illustrated edition, Cartographies of Time is a revelation to anyone interested in the role visual forms have played in our evolving conception of history.
Daniel Rosenberg is associate professor of history at the University of Oregon. He has published widely on history, theory, and art, and his work appears frequently in Cabinet magazine, where he is editor-at-large. With Susan Harding, he is editor of Histories of the Future.
Anthony Grafton is the Henry Putnam University Professor at Princeton University. He is the author of numerous books on European history and also writes on a wide variety of topics for the New Republic, American Scholar, the New York Review of Books, and the New Yorker.
"This is the best book I've seen in years and if the nice people at Princeton Architectural Press had not sent me a review copy, I would happily have paid them double the very reasonable list price of $50 for the book. This is a keeper."
"Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Graftons book Cartographies of Time is out now: my pre-ordered copy from Amazon is in front of me as I write. It looks beautiful and is lavishly illustrated."
Off the Mao, Fine Books Magazine:
"The first book, Cartographies of Time, is a heavily illustrated and comprehensive history of time maps, from tables and charts to cartographic illustration to the linear form we now associate with the word timeline. In chapter one, the authors write, Our claim is that the line is a much more complex and colorful figure than is usually thought. The fact that Anthony Grafton, Princeton professor and author of The Footnote (1999), is the co-author of this volume comes as no surprise. His ability to instill passion in his readers for an odd little thing like a footnote or a timeline is astonishing (much like Henry Petroskis books about bookshelves and pencils.)"
— Rebecca Rego Barry
"...the book's fascinating swathe of cartographic imagery will appeal to history buffs and data visualization fans alike."
— Maggie York-Worth
"I've been absolutely enthralled by its contents ever since I pulled it from the padded envelope. Cartographies of Time, by Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton, literally impresses you with its point from the moment you take it in-hand. Subtitled "A History of the Timeline," the book itself is corrugated with horizontally embossed lines on its covers. The effect is delightful (signaling right up front that this book is something special) and things just keep getting better as you travel deeper into the text. "Cartographies of Time is absolutely gorgeous....This is the type of artful and enlightening tome that makes me thrilled to be a book nerd. It's the sort of title that I'll have fun turning other book, history, design, and art enthusiasts onto."
— Gareth Branwyn
New at the Shop, Rare Device:
"Its definitely feeling like spring around here! We got a big box of gorgeous ceramics from Pigeon Toe (see tripod pot above) as well as our new favorite book, Cartographies of Time, plus more awesome little gifts for babies and kids. More soon as always!"
How to Draw Time, New York Times Book Blog:
"Its only April, and my vote for the most beautiful book of the year may be all sewn up. Cartographies of Time, published recently by Princeton Architectural Press, is an eye-popping record of the ways that mapmakers, chronologists, artists and other infographics geeks have tried to convey the passage of time visually."
— Jennifer Schuessler
"These charts deliver whole epochs to the eye with a swiftness that belies the myriad days they condense. "
— Albert Mobilio
The Picture: Nerd Rules, The New Republic online:
"In Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline, the historians Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton have made a fascinating narrative out of changing representations of the idea of historical time. They have woven their text through a series of eye-catching reproductions of more than six centuries worth of printed and drawn timelines."
— Jed Perl
Ace Jet 170:
"The NY Times Paper Cuts blog calls Cartographies of Time the most beautiful book of the year. I cannot disagree. In attempting to answer the question how do you draw time? the authors present page after page of beautiful and clever visual timelines."
— Jason Kottke
The New Republic, online edition :
"Cartographies of Time, which is among other things a study in styles of diagrammatic analysis, underscores the poetic colorations that shape and sometimes perhaps even define our sense of history."
"A work of tremendous intellectual breadth produced with great love and quality materials."
"Aesthetically beautiful and detailed."
"Great works of non-fiction often stand out because they make detailed examinations of even the most obscure topics fascinating. Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline certainly follows this pattern and will appeal to anyone with a love of history or design."
— Ben Bowers
"Rosenbergs and Graftons text is crisp and informative, but the true stars of Cartographies of Time are the numerous illustrations and photographs of the chronologies themselves... Lovers of history, art, and design will find much to enjoy in this volume. "
— Michael Partick Brady
The Barnes & Noble Review:
— Peter Terzian
Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline, Flowing Data:
"I don't often give in to impulse buys, but I just ordered Cartographies of Time, and I'm pretty sure it's going to be well worth the thirty bucks."
— Nathan Yau