‘Think of this atlas as the beginning of a journey and a kind of island guidebook, a rough guide to far-flung places, a Baedeker of make-believe, and a new page waiting to be filled. The cycle of Crusoes continues’ Huw Lewis-Jones
Islomania is a recognized affliction. But what is it about islands that is so alluring, and why do so many people find these self-contained worlds completely irresistible? Utopia and Atlantis were islands, and islands have captured the imaginations of writers and artists for centuries. Venetian sailors were the first to make collections of them by drawing maps of those they visited in their isolari – literally the ‘island books’. Then in 1719 Daniel Defoe published his tale of a castaway on a desert island, Robinson Crusoe, one of the first great novels in the history of literature and an instant bestseller. Defoe’s tale combined the real and the imagined and transformed them into a compelling creative landscape, establishing a whole literary genre and unleashing the power of an island for storytelling.
To celebrate the tercentenary of Robinson Crusoe’s publication, a truly international range of leading illustrators imagine they too have been washed up on their own remote island. In a specially created map they visualize what it looks like, what it’s called and what can be found on its mythical shores. In a panoply of astonishingly creative and often surprising responses, we are invited to explore a curious and fabulous archipelago of islands of invention that will beguile illustrators, cartographers and dreamers alike.
About the Author
Dr Huw Lewis-Jones is a historian of exploration with a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He was formerly Curator at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, and the National Maritime Museum, London. His books include The Conquest of Everest (winner of the History Award at the Banff Mountain Festival), The Crossing of Antarctica and Across the Arctic Ocean. He is the author, with Kari Herbert, of the bestseller Explorers' Sketchbooks.