Bringing geography to the book: charting the reception of Influences of geographic environment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whilst geography has formed an important yet often unacknowledged component in the description and analysis of print culture, its specific and potential contribution to understanding the making, distribution, and reading of books has yet to be outlined fully. This paper seeks to describe the different ways in which Ellen Churchill Semple’s 1911 volume Influences of geographic environment was received and understood—to explain why it was read both as a timely manifesto for a scientific approach to geographical research, and as a text which might damage the discipline’s legitimacy. In exploring Influences’ trajectory of diffusion, I argue that it is possible to outline a geography of its reception—to reveal a locational particularity in its reading and reviewing. In so doing, I address questions relating to the epistemic and methodological bases of book geography, and describe the contribution that geography can make to explaining how knowledge and ideas, in textual form, are communicated and received.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525–540
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • United Kingdom
  • textual reception
  • geographies of the book
  • geographies of reading
  • geographies of reviewing
  • environmental determinism

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