Travel Reference
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configuration conforms not only to the geometrical tastes of Renaissance
Europe but also to its military strategies, where firearms dictated a cer-
tain organization of defence (200-1). Rather than constituting an accu-
rate ethnographic document, the engraving, like Cartier's text, imposes
a European vision, which Gagnon and Petel also characterize as 'uto-
pian': 'en réalité, il [le plan] est un bon exemple d'urbanisme utopique
typique de la Renaissance' (201, see also 203; in reality, the plan is a
good example of utopian urbanism, typical of the Renaissance).
Cartier himself not only evaluates the landscape frequently in terms
of its favourable comparison with French phenomena, 6 but he also
tends to see landforms in terms of geometrical shapes ('en manière de
triangle' [136; like a triangle], 'en manière de demi-cercle' [149; like a
semicircle]) and even familiar European architectural structures: 'Nous
trouvâmes des terres à montagne très hautes et sauvages; parmi les-
quelles il y en a une paraissant être une grange, et pour ce nous nom-
mâmes ce lieu les monts des Granges.' (124; We found a region of very
high, rugged mountains, among which there was one that resembled a
barn, so we named this area the Barn Mountains.) In this case, he turns
away from the large, wild mountains to focus on those with a more fa-
miliar shape, which he then names accordingly.
For Cartier, naming natural features, especially after Roman Catholic
saints, seems to be not only a way of organizing the landmass into ref-
erence points for cartographic purposes but also of coping with its
strangeness and appropriating it in terms of European language and
culture. As Roland LeHuenen notes, 'Le site décrit est toujours nommé,
geste d'appropriation par excellence, et dans la majeure partie des cas
cet acte de nomination est aussi un acte de baptême, je veux dire qu'il
s'effectue dans un registre hagiographique.' (32; The site described is
always named, the ultimate gesture of appropriation, and in most cases
this act of naming is also an act of baptism, since it occurs in a hagio-
graphic register.) 7
The ultimate manner of controlling the landscape, however, for fu-
ture reference as well as for present possession, is to 'plant' a cross on
a prominent point (a European custom that Cartier practises just be-
fore the end of each of his first two voyages) , 8 as in the following ex-
ample from the first voyage, where the French are closely observed by
several 'sauvages':
Nous fîmes faire une croix de trente pieds de haut, qui fut faite devant plu-
sieurs d'entre eux, sur la pointe de l'entrée dudit havre, sous le croisillon de
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