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Reclus, ÉLisée (1830–1905)

  • By: Christopher D. Merrett
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Élisée Reclus was an influential 19th-century geographer, even though he did not hold an official university position until late in his career. He was widely recognized for his scholarly writings on anarchism and geography, which informed his political activism.

His revolutionary mien reflects diverse influences. He was born into a large family in the Gironde Départment of southwestern France. His father served as a Protestant pastor in a rural culture dominated by Catholicism. He eventually abandoned organized religion, but he retained a missionary zeal for political dissent and social equality, inculcated in him by his family. His formal university training included stints at several Protestant religious schools in France and Germany. He also attended lectures at the University of Berlin given by the celebrated German geographer, ...

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