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

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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.