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January 01, 2007


In the second half of the eighteenth century there was an explosion in travel literature in the German-speaking countries. Travel literature became an important medium for broadening of people's horizons. When transferring travel experiences into the written word the traveller had a wealth of literary forms at their disposal: the diary, the letter, the narrative structured according to the chronology of the journey. Moreover, topography, ‘statistics’ in the contemporary sense and ‘apodemics’ (the art of travelling) as a professional basis for travelling offered the potential for a scientific approach. The scientific interest in ‘mineralogical’ journeys aimed at acquiring reliable empirical data, and required formal strategies to counter the superficiality and selectivity of fieldwork. The choice of one strategy of description, and that is the thesis presented here, is based on epistemological factors. This paper looks at three works of travel literature, in which the chosen form of writing correlates with the central scientific findings of the respective authors: Belsazar de la Motte Hacquet (1739–1815), Ignaz von Born (1742–1791) and Ehrenbert von Fichtel (1732–1795) all of whom wrote ‘mineralogical’ books based on extensive travelling in the eastern Habsburg territories.

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Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Four Centuries of Geological Travel: The Search for Knowledge on Foot, Bicycle, Sledge and Camel

P. N. Wyse Jackson
P. N. Wyse Jackson
Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
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Geological Society of London
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January 01, 2007




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