One of the earliest, and most influential examples of sentimental cartography is the Carte de Tendre, an example of the highly refined imagination prevalent in 17th century French literary salons.Â Â (another one is entryÂ #59Â on this blog, a German map of the Empire of Love)Â
The fictional country of Tendre (âTenderâ) was inspired by ClÃ©lie, Histoire romaine, a novel by Madeleine de ScudÃ©ry (1607-1701), whose much-frequented and tone-setting salon was one of the focal points of PrÃ©ciositÃ©, a rarefied literary genre noted for its effusive erudition and gallantry.
The map of Tendre is a topographic allegory, representing the stations of love as if they were real paths and places.
The country is bisected by the Inclination (âDispositionâ), a river that runs south to north, joined by two smaller rivers, the Estime (âRespectâ) and the Reconnaissance (âGratitudeâ), before plunging into La mer dangereuse (âthe Dangerous Seaâ), which is separated from a reef-ridden narrows from Terres inconnues (âUnknown Landsâ). To the west are the decidedly choppy waters of the Mer dâInimitiÃ© (âSea of Enmityâ).
The smooth flow of the rivers symbolises the control over passions, the perils of the sea the danger of unbridled emotions. Straddling the rivers are three eponymous capital cities: Tendre-sur-Estime, Tendre-sur-Reconnaissance. Places along those rivers mark the waypoints of âcivilisedâ love â and some of its pitfalls:
Marking the road from Nouvelle amitiÃ© (âNew Friendshipâ) to Tendre-sur-Reconnaissance are the following towns, purportedly representing a gradual increase of affection:
However, close to the forbidding rock fortress of Orgueil (âprideâ) in the extreme south-west are places to be avoided, such as:
Equally avoidable are the localities leading from Nouvelle amitiÃ© towards the Lac dâIndifference (âLake Disinterestâ):Â
Leading towards Tendre-sur-Inclination and beyond to Tendre-sur-Estime are the towns of:
This map was found atÂ this pageÂ of the University of Richmond (Virginia, US).