Fifty Maps and the Stories they Tell

SKU: BOD-1027
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'This slim volume spans almost two thousand years of map-making history … Fifty Maps deftly captures how history, science, art and imagination blend together to imbue maps with their profound storytelling power. … an insightful and thought-provoking book.' - The Globe

'The greatest hits compilation …beautifully produced, copiously illustrated in full-colour, excellent value and a joy to behold.' - Sheetlines 


From medieval maps to digital cartograms, this book features highlights from the Bodleian Library’s extraordinary map collection together with rare artefacts and some stunning examples from twenty-first-century map-makers.

Each map is accompanied by a narrative revealing the story behind how it came to be made and the significance of what it shows. The chronological arrangement highlights how cartography has evolved over the centuries and how it reflects political and social change.

Showcasing a twelfth-century Arabic map of the Mediterranean, highly decorated portolan charts, military maps, trade maps, a Siberian sealskin map, maps of heaven and hell, C.S. Lewis’s map of Narnia, J.R.R. Tolkien’s cosmology of Middle-earth and Grayson Perry’s tapestry map, this book is a treasure-trove of cartographical delights spanning over a thousand years.


Jerry Brotton is Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary University of London. Nick Millea is the Map Librarian at the Bodleian Library.


  • Paperback with flaps
  • 144 pages, 196 x 196 mm
  • c. 80 colour illustrations
  • ISBN: 9781851245239
  • Publication July 2019

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