Calista McRae

Blurring realms

Michael Heller's New World

Above: Map of the world by Heinrich Bünting, 1581, woodcut, via Wikimedia Commons.

Heller gravitates toward the patina of age and tradition — to the map of the cover, to the Tang dynasty, to ascetic regions of ocean and heron, and to resonant, gorgeous symbols. 

There is a 1581 map, a woodcut by Heinrich Bünting, in which the world takes the form of a three-leaf clover. A minute drawing of Jerusalem is at the center; three almond-shaped continents extend outward. Bünting’s perfect trefoil of a world is explicit in Michael Heller’s most recent book.

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