Geographic Literacy and Defoe's Complete Englishmen: Mere Bookcases v. Walking Maps



Whether learning how to work the streets as a pickpocket or picking up the art of navigation, Daniel Defoe's characters find, in John Richetti's words, that ‘the exact apprehension of the world is a technique for survival’: a measure of their capacity for ‘pushing back against a potentially destructive world’. This article pursues this issue of apprehension beyond Defoe's novels and into his non-fictional explorations of model lives, where geographic literacy or competence often figures as an index of the capacity to act effectively and responsibly in the world.