John Norden's The Surveyor's Dialogue (1618): A Critical Edition, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

John Norden's The Surveyor's Dialogue (1618)

A Critical Edition, 1st Edition

Edited by Mark Netzloff


266 pages

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Hardback: 9780754641278
pub: 2010-09-28
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315590608
pub: 2016-05-06
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This edition provides the first complete, modern version of John Norden's The Surveyor's Dialogue. Norden's text, a series of dialogues between a fictional surveyor and several interlocutors”including a tenant farmer, an aristocrat landowner, a manorial officer, and a socially mobile land buyer”is remarkable for its unique commentary on the agrarian roots of English capitalism. In his extensive introduction, Mark Netzloff situates the text in relation to a number of early modern contexts. He discusses the use of dialogue and other literary forms in proto-scientific writing and the role of print in the increasing professionalism of early surveyors. Netzloff also examines the impact of capital formation on agrarian and manorial class relations, discussing topics such as popular protest and revolt, cottagers and the rural poor, regionalism and urbanization, and the transformation of the natural environment through deforestation, enclosure, and the appropriation of commons. Alongside a thorough annotation of technical and historical terms, the edition provides a list of textual variants among early modern versions of the text. This critical edition of The Surveyor's Dialogue constitutes an important contribution to early modern scholarship, and it will be invaluable to scholars from a range of fields, including the history of science, economic and agrarian history, and literary and cultural studies.


'Netzloff delivers precisely what one expects from a scholarly edition: evocative context and informative annotations. Scholars interested in the intersections of land, capital, ecology, and literature will therefore appreciate this edition. Its sophisticated introduction is bolstered by an expert critical apparatus that provides footnotes glossing obscure vocabulary, biblical allusions, variations among editions, and details regarding Norden’s alternate careers as a religious writer and cartographer. One may hope that the edition inspires kindred scholars to take stock of the influence, whether beneficial or sinister, of the innovative and crafty Surveyor.' Seventeenth-Century News 'We can all welcome its publication with the hope that others besides this reviewer will now be seduced into reading the entire work for the first time.' Economic History Review ’This new critical edition, admirable in its intention and successful in its achievement, expands the general availability of the Dialogue and improves its readability for the modern scholar, while also providing a perceptive analysis and helpful contextualization of a text that represents a key insight into the development and the socio-economic and political impact of cartography in early modern agrarian England.’ Cartographica

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: Text of The Surveyor's Dialogue; Textual notes; Works cited; Index.

About the Editor

Mark Netzloff is Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the author of England’s Internal Colonies: Class, Capital, and the Literature of Early Modern English Colonialism.

About the Series

Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity

Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity
For more than a decade now, Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity has provided a forum for groundbreaking work on the relations between literary and scientific discourses in Europe, during a period when both fields were in a crucial moment of historical formation. We welcome proposals that address the many overlaps between modes of imaginative writing typical of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries”poetics, rhetoric, prose narrative, dramatic production, utopia”and the vocabularies, conceptual models, and intellectual methods of newly emergent 'scientific' fields such as medicine, astronomy, astrology, alchemy, psychology, mapping, mathematics, or natural history. In order to reflect the nature of intellectual inquiry during the period, the series is interdisciplinary in orientation and publishes monographs, edited collections, and selected critical editions of primary texts relevant to an understanding of the mutual implication of literary and scientific epistemologies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature