assorted map pieces

Flash No. 15 – Peter Gregg Slater

A Tale of Two Maps

By Peter Gregg Slater

Knowing how I love maps, the owner of a bookstore in Washington, D.C. brought out two for me to look over during a 2019 visit. The first, a world map from 1578, displayed the surrealistic continents and islands characteristic of the period’s cartography. Tiny ships bravely sailed its seas, a few ominously heading towards waters marked: Here Be Monsters.

Next, a contemporary map of Washington, D.C. “For tourists,” the owner indicated, “but with special touches. Check out Pennsylvania Avenue.”

My finger moved down that street until I reached the 1600 number. The explanatory text warned: Here Be Monsters.

“I’ll take both.”  

Peter Gregg Slater is a professor emeritus of history whose scholarship in American intellectual and cultural history is often referenced in both academic and popular publications. His poetry, fiction, parody, and essays have appeared in Dash, Workers Write!, The Westchester Review, The Satirist, and Twentieth Century Literature, among other publications.