Reclus, Jacques Elisee; The History of a Mountain. 1881

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Reclus, Jacques Elisee; The History of a Mountain. Translated from the French by Bertha Ness and John Lillie. New York, Harper & Bros. 1881. Octavo, pp. 195, 3 of ads, frontispiece, and 14 additional b/w plates. b/w vignette on title page.
The book is complete and in the original brown cloth with gilt cover vignette, gilt spine titles and stamped titles on cover and brown end sheets. The binding is tight and clean with minor edge wear, minor chipping to upper inner edge of front end sheet, owners book plate on front paste down. Text with light toning. In very good condition.
Jacques Reclus (1830-1905) was a famous French geographer, writer and political activist. His best known work was the massive 19 volume masterpiece “La Nouvelle Geographie Universelle” published between 1875 and 1894. In 1892 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Paris Geographical Society for this work, despite having been banished from France because he was labelled an anarchist.
Reclus was educated at Montaubanand and studied geography under Carl Ritter in Berlin. When Napoleon III carried out his political coup in 1851 when he was facing arrest for supporting the Republican government, Reclus was forced to flee France. Along with his brother, Reclus first went to England and then to America to work as a private teacher on a plantation near New Orleans. It was here that he witnessed the horrors of slavery.
In 1858 he was able to return to Paris where he once again took up geography and writing. Reclus remained active in progressive politics, joined the Anarchist Movement, and during the German siege of Paris in 1871 he was taken prisoner while defending the local commune. His sentence of exile from France for life was commuted in early 1872 to one of 10 years banishment. It was then that he settled in Clarens, Switzerland. It was during this period that he began writing his monumental work. Throughout this period he still defended libertarian and progressive ideals. The themes of freedom of conscience and fraternity and especially morality in both the scientific and political arenas can be found throughout his work. Yet Reclus has been all but forgotten in the circles of scholarly geography. This is because he was considered an embarrassment to many within the university world.
His beliefs and ideals can be found within his little known work “History of a Mountain”. It was written during a period when Reclus felt betrayed by those around him and when he retreated to a mountain camp to reflect on how a mountain and its formation, geographic features and the life that evolved and flourishes within its forests exist in a sense of harmony.