Elisée Reclus

06 December 2016 - 15:25

Elisée Reclus (1830-1905) was far ahead of his time in many fields: he was the first practitioner of the field of social geography, counts as one of the founders of naturism and vegetarianism, led the way at the Paris Commune (1870) and propagated the world language Esperanto.

But he was best known as an anarchist writer, as influential as his contemporary Kropotkin. His magnum opus  Nouvelle Géographie Universelle: la terre et les hommes came to be between 1876 and 1894 and is the result of 20 years of cooperation between Reclus and other militants, including Kropotkin. The 19-part work is the very first non-Europe-centered geography study.

Federico Ferretti reconstructed the realization of the Nouvelle Géographie from correspondence and other documents. This research was published in French (Paris, Editions du CTHS, 2014) and Italian (Milan 2011) .

The same author published the correspondence of Reclus with his publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel (1814-1886): Elisée Reclus, Lettres de prison et d’exil (2012)..

The Reclus archive has spread throughout the world, the IISH has a part of it and a microfilm of the part that is based in Moscow. The archive at the IISH was consulted for the study on the Nouvelle Géographie, as well as the archives of Kropotkin, Domela Nieuwenhuis and others.

IISH Collections | Book blog | Élisée Reclus - Photo by IISH