Terra Incognita

A History of Ignorance in the 18th and 19th Centuries

Terra Incognita
Alain Corbin, Susan Pickford
NZ$ 42.99
Our Price:
NZ$ 36.54
h212 x 149mm - 188pg
25 Jun 2021 UK
International import eta 10-30 days
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Identifying gaps in knowledge is the first duty of any historian who sets out to understand the past. It is impossible fully to understand our forebears without some idea of what they did not know: the history of ignorance is an indispensable part of history itself. Here Alain Corbin focuses on our planet, exploring its mysteries past and present, and the intensity and eventual decline of the modes of terror and wonder it aroused. For thousands of years, humans knew nearly nothing about the earth. Certain locations on the map simply read ' Terra Incognita' . Corbin recounts the many errors and uncertainties that littered the paths we followed in the attempt to discover the secrets of our blue planet, with a particular focus on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when the mysteries of volcanoes, the polar regions, glaciers, the stratosphere and the oceans began to be uncovered. While ignorance stimulated our ancestors' imagination, Corbin' s history of ignorance reawakens our thirst for knowledge and changes our view of the world.
' Alain Corbin is one of the most remarkable historians writing about anything anywhere. A master of innovation in his choice of subjects and approaches to history, Corbin here brilliantly tackles "ignorance" in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, what earlier generations did not know. This is a fascinating book, nicely translated. ' John Merriman, Yale University' Original as always in his approach to history, Alain Corbin tells the story of the discovery of the earth from 1750 to 1900 by emphasizing earlier ignorance of lands, seas and space. Written in the author' s usual lucid and accessible style, the book will appeal to general readers as well as scholars and students of history. ' Peter Burke, University of Cambridge
Alain Corbin is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Paris 1, Pantheon-Sorbonne.

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