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Traces on the Rhodian Shore

Nature and Culture in Western Thought from Ancient Times to the End of the Eighteenth Century

Clarence J. Glacken (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 796 pages
ISBN: 9780520032163
August 1976
$47.95, £37.00
In the history of Western thought, men have persistently asked three questions concerning the habitable earth and their relationships to it. Is the earth, which is obviously a fit environment for man and other organic life, a purposefully made creation? Have its climates, its relief, the configuration of its continents influenced the moral and social nature of individuals, and have they had an influence in molding the character and nature of human culture? In his long tenure of the earth, in what manner has man changed it from its hypothetical pristine condition? From the time of the Greeks to our own, answers to these questions have been and are being given so frequently and so continually that we may restate them in the form of general ideas: the idea of a designed earth; the idea of environmental influence; and the idea of man as a geographic agent. These ideas have come from the general thought and experience of men, but the first owes much to mythology, theology, and philosophy; the second, to pharmaceutical lore, medicine, and weather observation; the third, to the plans, activities, and skills of everyday life such as cultivation, carpentry, and weaving. The first two ideas were expressed frequently in antiquity, the third less so, although it was implicit in many discussions which recognized the obvious fact that men through their arts, sciences, and techniques had changed the physical environment about them. This magnum opus of Clarence Glacken explores all of these questions from Ancient Times to the End of the Eighteenth Century.

1. Order and Purpose in the Cosmos and on the Earth
2. Airs, Waters, Places
3. Creating a Second Nature
4. God, Man, and Nature in Judeo-Christian Theology

5. The Earth as a Planned Abode for Man
6. Environmental Influences within a Divinely Created World
7. Interpreting Piety and Activity, and their Effects on Nature

8. Physico-Theology: Deeper Understandings of the Earth as a Habitable Planet
9. Environmental Theories of Early Modern Times
10. Growing Consciousness of the Control of Nature

11. Final Strengths and Weaknesses of Physico-Theology
12. Climate, the Moeurs, Religion, and Government
13. Environment, Population, and the Perfectibility of Man
14. The Epoch of Man in the History of Nature

Clarence James Glacken (1909 - August 20, 1989) was Professor of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley.
"Traces on the Rhodian Shore is one of the best and most important books published by a geographer in the English-speaking world in the last hundred years. as with many seminal books, the perception of its worth is likely to increase over a long time."--Professional Geographer "Through a highly interdisciplinary framework, Glacken relates social and natural phenomena to the supposed dichotomy of man and nature. Environmental influences on culture and vice versa are discussed from an original point of view; it is avery timely subject. Containing a wealth of data and new approaches to the story of the development of human society, the account is absorbing and thought provoking for men in all areas as well as the educated laymen."--Choice "A book such as this rarely appear anymore. . . .Its size, its comprehensiveness, its involvement with the classical sources, its modesty, and its urbanity make this an unusual book. Its rarity, however, in now ay diminishes its value, whether for the general historical or for the historian of those particular disciplines specifically concerned with the nature of man and his place in nature."--American Anthropologist

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