January 2021

The New Yorker: Cartography is a form of control. “The Great Arc,” John Keay’s account of the surveying operation, argues that the undertaking was both a scientific triumph and an exercise in imperial authority. The Great Survey heralded a golden age of Himalayan exploration and exploitation, in which young European men, monocles firmly in place and teakettles securely lashed to their porters’ sacks, set out in the explorer-conqueror mold of Christopher Columbus and Captain Cook. The mountains became stages for mystical self-discovery and Nietzschean improvement.

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