The Earth – Élisée Reclus (1872)


The Earth – Élisée Reclus (1872)


Title: The Earth: A Descriptive History of the Phenomena of the Life of the Globe

Author: Élisée Reclus, B. B. Woodward (trans.)

Publisher: Harper & Brothers, New York, 1872.

Condition: Hardcover, reading copy only. Hinges cracked but binding sound. Title page nearly coming off. Inscription to ffep. Otherwise, the binding is sound. With numerous illustrated plates and maps. 567pp.,app 9.5″ by 6″. A heavy book, overseas shipping will cost extra.

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Part 1: The Earth as a Planet, including

  • Smallness of the Earth as compared with the Sun and Fixed Stars
  • Motion of the Planet
  • Various opinions as to the Formation of the Earth
  • Geological Strata
  • Incessant modification in the shape of the continents

Part 2: The Land, including

  • Regular distribution of continents, the ancient world
  • Inequality of Land and Water, mountains, oceans, polar circle, etc
  • Principal analogies between continents, slopes and declivities, etc
  • Northern continent, southern continents, Old World and the New, etc
  • Oceans
  • Plains
  • Europe
  • Deserts in Arabia, Iran, Indus, Gobi etc
  • American Deserts
  • Central Asia
  • Mountains, mountain ridges, valleys, sacred mountains, mountain chains

Part 3: The Circulation of Water, including

  • Influence of the Sun and meteroic agents on snow
  • Transformation of snow into ice
  • Glaciers
  • Springs
  • Rivers
  • Floods
  • Lakes
  • The Dead Sea & other salt lakes

Part 4: Subterranean Forces, including

  • Volcanoes and Eruptions
  • Composition of lava
  • Submarine volcanoes
  • Earthquakes
  • Mobility of the Earth’s crust

About the author (from Wikipedia):

Jacques Élisée Reclus (15 March 1830 – 4 July 1905) was a renowned French geographer, writer and anarchist. He produced his 19-volume masterwork, La Nouvelle Géographie universelle, la terre et les hommes (“Universal Geography”), over a period of nearly 20 years (1875–1894). In 1892 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Paris Geographical Society for this work, despite having been banished from France because of his political activism.

Reclus was admired by many prominent 19th century thinkers, including Alfred Russel Wallace, George Perkins Marsh and Patrick Geddes, Henry Stephens Salt, and Octave Mirbeau. James Joyce was influenced by Reclus’ book La civilisation et les grands fleuves historiques.

Reclus advocated nature conservation and opposed meat-eating and cruelty to animals. He was a vegetarian. As a result, his ideas are seen by some historians and writers as anticipating the modern social ecology and animal rights movements.