Synopses & Reviews
The first comprehensive introduction to the thought of Elisée Reclus, the great anarchist geographer and political theorist, Anarchy, Geography, Modernity presents his groundbreaking critique of all forms of domination: not only capitalism, the state, and authoritarian religion, but also patriarchy, racism, technological domination, and the domination of nature. Not only an anarchist, but also a radical feminist, antiracist, ecologist, animal rights advocate, cultural radical, nudist, and vegetarian, Reclus ideas are presented both through detailed exposition and analysis and in extensive translations of key texts, most appearing in English for the first time. The work elucidates Reclus greatest achievement, a sweeping historical and theoretical synthesis recounting the story of the earth and humanity as an epochal struggle between freedom and domination, and his crucial insights on the interrelation between personal and small-group transformation, broader cultural change, and large-scale social organization are also explored.
"This collection, edited by theorist and activist Clark (The Impossible Community) and poet Martin (Looms and Sonnets), focuses on Reclus (1830 1905), the largely-forgotten French writer, geographer, and anarchist, author of the 19-volume tome, The Earth and Its Inhabitants. The first section summarizes Reclus's life and thought, while the second contains excerpts from his writings, many of which appear here for the first time in English. Having spent time in a Louisiana plantation, Reclus witnessed the brutality of slavery first-hand, which resolved his feelings towards racism and 'strengthened his belief in the inhumanity of capitalism.' After returning to Europe, he dedicated himself to political writing and activism, becoming well-known in anarchist circles. Despite his new fame, he rejected the idea of taking a position of superiority, and advocated for 'complete justice and equality' for women. Railing against 'all forms of the state,' he held that anyone who gains power in the state, even if it is with the intention of improving conditions, inevitably becomes corrupted by its mechanisms. This illuminating, extensive collection provides a worthwhile introduction to a progressive thinker who was ahead of his time. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“For far too long Elisée Reclus has stood in the shadow of Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, and Emma Goldman. Now John Clark as pulled Reclus forward to stand shoulder to shoulder with Anarchisms cynosures. Reclus light brought into anarchisms compass not only a focus on ecology, but a struggle against both patriarchy and racism, contributions which can now be fully appreciated thanks to John Clarks exegesis and translations of works previously unavailable in English. No serious reader can afford to neglect this book.” —Dana Ward, professor of political studies, Pitzer College
“Finally! A century after his death, the great French geographer and anarchist Elisée Reclus has been honored by a vibrant selection of his writings expertly translated into English.” —Kent Mathewson, associate professor of geography and anthropology, Louisiana State University
“Maintaining an appropriately scholarly style, marked by deep background knowledge, nuanced argument, and careful qualifications, Clark and Martin nevertheless reveal a passionate love for their subject and adopt a stance of political engagement that they hope does justice to Reclus own commitments.” —Historical Geography journal
“Clark and Martin have opened the door, through their deep introduction and selected reprints, to one of the great thinkers of 19th century anarchist thought.” —Anarchy
About the Author
John Clark is the Curtin Distinguished Professor in Humane Letters and the Professions, a professor of philosophy, and a member of the environmental studies faculty at Loyola University-New Orleans. He is the author or editor of a dozen books, most recently, The Impossible Community: Realizing Communitarian Anarchism; comoderator of Research on Anarchism, an international multilingual discussion list and research archives; editor of the online journal Psychic Swamp: The Surregional Review; and the author of the “Imagined Ecologies” column for the journal Capitalism Nature Socialism. He lives in New Orleans. Camille Martin is the author of four books of poetry, most recently, Looms and Sonnets. She is the founder of Rogue Embryo, a literary blog. She lives in Toronto. Elisée Reclus was a renowned French geographer, writer, and anarchist. In 1892 he was awarded the prestigious Gold Medal of the Paris Geographical Society for his 19-volume masterwork La Nouvelle Géographie universelle, la terre et les hommes (Universal Geography), despite his having been banished from France because of his political activism.