World Literature

Histoires de la terre : earth sciences and French culture by Louise Lyle, David McCallam

By Louise Lyle, David McCallam

This selection of essays explores how Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment advancements within the earth sciences and similar fields (paleontology, mining, archeology, seismology, oceanography, evolution, etc.) impacted on modern French tradition. They demonstrate that geological principles have been a way more pervasive and influential cultural strength than has hitherto been intended. From the mid-eighteenth century, with the e-book of Buffon’s seminal Théorie de l. a. Terre (1749), till the early 20th century, thoughts and figures drawn from the earth sciences encouraged probably the most very important French philosophers, novelists, political theorists, historians and popularizers of technological know-how of the time. This publication charts the unique and influential ways that French writers and thinkers, comparable to Buffon, d’Holbach, Balzac, Sand, Verne, Gide and Malraux, exploited the earth sciences for extraordinarily varied ends. This quantity should be of curiosity to scholars, researchers and students of French literature within the smooth interval, cultural historians of recent France, students of eu stories, of French political historical past, of the heritage of principles or the historical past of technology in addition to researchers in panorama and actual geography

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The increase in incidence of earthquakes gave rise to a new literary genre: telluric tables or journals. 34 Histories of ___________________________ 29 Jacquemin, cultivateur à Aische en Refail: annotations pour les années 1755-1760, ed. E. Verhelst, “Etude de géographie locale: Aische en Refail”, Bulletin de la Société royale de Belgique, 19 (1895), pp. 548-49. : 1756). 31 Laurent-Etienne Rondet, Supplément aux réflexions sur le désastre de Lisbonne. : 1757). 32 Elie Bertrand, Mémoires historiques et physiques sur les tremblemens de terre (La Haye: 1757).

Burns, Jeanne X. 137-60. When Geology Encounters a Real Catastrophe 45 After having related numerous accounts by Parisians to his fellow academicians, he noted in his handwritten papers that: A l’égard de l’isle du Palais où je demeure dans la partie occidentale qui est formée de terres rapportées, je ne me suis aperçu d’aucun mouvement quoique je fusse ce jour, dès 5 h du matin, à travailler avec beaucoup de tranquillité à l’arrangement d’une table, par ordre alphabétique, des lieux où les tremblements se sont fait sentir depuis quelques mois en Europe et ailleurs.

This chapter draws on national and local archives in order to demonstrate how the unmediated pan-European experience of the Lisbon shock enabled whole swathes of the population, hitherto untouched by the study of natural phenomena, to participate in one of the first truly popular scientific debates of the French Enlightenment. The continuing seismic activity after Lisbon, in France and elsewhere, also ensured that the Lisbon disaster threw up not only an array of new theories about earthquakes but also a more consistent rigorous protocol for observing and recording them.

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