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date: 26 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the history of geography during the Romantic period, concentrating on contemporary books which attempt to describe the whole earth and, in doing so, set out procedures for geographical study. Noting that ‘geography’ can refer both to the physical characteristics of the earth’s surface, and to the disciplined interpretation of those characteristics, the chapter begins by outlining the range of methodologies employed by these works. At the heart of geographical enquiry in the Romantic period are a set of significant epistemological questions about knowledge acquisition, and the perception and interpretation of the world. The chapter illustrates this by showing how two contemporary maps of Europe use different methods to justify and represent the limits of ‘European’ space. Furthermore, an understanding of geographical epistemologies—with their different assumptions about how to comprehend and intervene in the world—can help us interpret the tumultuous political events of the period.

Keywords: geography, methodology, epistemology, political change, borders, idea of Europe

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