THE LEGENDARY “REDISCOVERY” OF GEORGE PERKINS MARSH

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abstract.

The conventional narrative regarding the American reception of George Perkins Marsh, author of Man and Nature (1864), is that his work and ideas were “lost,”“forgotten,” or “neglected” until Lewis Mumford “rediscovered” him and introduced him to geographers at the University of California-Berkeley through The Brown Decades (Mumford [1931] 1955) and until Carl Sauer made him known to the profession at large beginning in 1938. This article upends the conventional narrative by looking at earlier references to Marsh's later versions of Man and Nature, which were published as The Earth as Modified by Human Action from 1874 to 1907. Analysis reveals that a number of geographers and historians cited these editions between 1875 and the early 1950s. Examining the legend of loss and rediscovery suggests the value of methods utilized in reception studies for research on the history of geography.

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