Natura Magistra Vitae: Natural Pedagogy in Élisée Reclus’s Histoire D’un Ruisseau

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This article examines the role that anarchist geographer Élisée Reclus attributed to nature as a moral and political teacher capable of enhancing human wellbeing and community. After showing that Reclus’s programmatic essay ‘Du sentiment de la nature’ makes an urgent case for re-sensitizing modern people to nature, I examine how his popular science book Histoire d’un ruisseau seeks to implement this pedagogy. While arguing that nature’s integrity matters foremost for the sake of human material wellbeing, Reclus refused to exclude beauty from that category, arguing that receptivity to beauty reflected a society’s relationship to justice and the natural world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-230
Number of pages11
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Music
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


  • Anarchism
  • aesthetics
  • eco-cosmopolitanism
  • ecology
  • geography
  • natural history
  • pedagogy


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