“Mountains might be marked by a drop of glue”: Blindness, Touch and Tactile Maps

  • Vanessa Warne
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


Pairing analysis of tangible maps with discussion of their use, this essay examines how Victorian map-making for and by blind people responded to challenges surrounding the accurate representation of the environment and to ideas about disability. It argues that the adaptation of maps for blind users required significant changes to established systems of map-making, most particularly in relation to the inclusion of text on maps—a practice radically modified by makers of tangible maps. Furthermore, while the use of maps by blind people prompted a reconsideration of the complexity and information-gathering potential of touch, a sense traditionally dismissed as unsophisticated and unreliable, the development and use of tangible maps also contributed to the emergence of progressive notions about the intellectual potential of disabled people.


Victorian Blind Maps Cartography Map-making Sense Disability studies Touch 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa Warne
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of English, Film and MediaUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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