By Anne Marie Claire Godlewska

On the finish of the eighteenth century, French geographers confronted a obstacle. even though they'd formerly been ranked one of the so much extremely popular scientists in Europe, they unexpectedly stumbled on themselves directionless and disrespected simply because they have been not able to conform their descriptive concentration simply to the recent emphasis on idea and clarification sweeping via different disciplines.Anne Godlewska examines this challenge, the usually conservative reactions of geographers to it, and the paintings of researchers on the margins of the sector who helped chart its destiny path. She tells her tale partially throughout the lives and careers of people, from the deposed cupboard geographer Cassini IV to Volney, von Humboldt, and Letronne (innovators in human, actual, and historic geography), and in part in the course of the associations with which they have been linked comparable to the Encyclop?die and the Jesuit and armed forces colleges.Geography Unbound provides an insightful portrait of a very important interval within the improvement of recent geography, whose volatile disciplinary prestige remains to be greatly a topic at the present time.

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This is why mathematically inclined astronomer/geographers such as Cassini I and Delisle were as interested as the more erudite geographers in assessing the value of the measures used by the Romans. 64 Until the nineteenth century many parts of the world, including most of Mrica and Asia, and large parts of North and South America, either had never been visited or had not been seen by many Europeans since the fall of Rome. Geographers, who had been taught in the Jesuit and other religious schools (or by tutors trained in them) both to respect the knowledge of the ancients and how to analyze their texts, were more inclined than we would be today to believe in and use ancient descriptions of the Middle East and parts of Africa and the Far East.

Geographers had words and cartographic symbols for frontiers, a large variety of administrative divisions both secular and ecclesiastical, towns and settlements, the sea and its dangers, the coasts and their aspects, the commonplaces of agriculture, small-scale industrial production and trade, the rough location of natural obstacles or passages such as mountains, marshes, and rivers, and the location and even rough characterization of forests. However, the eighteenth century witnessed a rapid growth in geographic vocabulary in areas which had only just begun to draw the attention of the European mind.

Again, 41 42 CHAPTER ONE Franc;ois de Dainville, in his Le Langage des geographes, is the only historian of geography who has explored this most important stage in geographic thought, the development of the geographic language. Yet to ignore this development for a focus on geographic discoveries (which belonged to many sciences) is to look through the map at its content ignoring the form, the order, and the poetry of the map, which is the first language of geographers. From the sixteenth century to the nineteenth century, geography was substantially preoccupied with the development of a scientific language, again both textual and graphic.

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