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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/897

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THE NEW GEOGRAPHY.

the other life and have communion with angels and spirits, occasionally it even sees God himself. In many such hallucinatory experiences there is a curious constancy of type which, with our scanty information, we can not at present explain, and I would be glad to receive authentic accounts of any cases known to my readers.

 

THE NEW GEOGRAPHY.
By ALBERT PERRY BRIGHAM.

THE doctrine that land forms have had a history chiefly distinguishes the new geography from the old. Geography, indeed, takes account of sea as well as land, of the phenomena of the atmosphere, the distribution of organisms, including man, of economic products and political divisions. But the new phase of geography, which is sometimes known as physiography, and later, as geomorphology, is not an isolated and formal element of the science; it rather underlies the whole, modifying or, more truly, controlling climate, organic distribution, and the history of man. The new geography can not, therefore, be charged with infringing upon the rights of the old, for it contributes vitality, unity, and continuity to the whole range of geographic fact and theory; it rejects absolutely the category of the author of one of our textbooks in physical geography, that the air, the water, and the land are "the three dead geographic forms."

Geography is sometimes defined as a description of the earth as it is, without reference to its past. One author has called it the science of distribution, but well adds that because it is a science it can not rest in a mere record, but must have the causes. The new movement has simply applied the evolutionary principle to geography, giving it the life and freedom which this doctrine has imparted to all other sciences in our day. It has been seriously asked whether the new notion of geography does not confuse it with geology. Thus the minority report of the Conference on Geography to the Committee of Ten criticises the majority report as bearing too plainly the marks of the geologist's hand. It may as well be frankly admitted that geography and geology overlap. All sciences transgress each other's boundaries, and all bounds in Nature are largely matters of convenience. Geology never truly interpreted terrestrial history until, with Hutton and Lyell, it took to studying geography. Nor will the geographer understand the earth which he sees until he takes account of geology. Land forms can not be truly seen or faithfully described until seen and described in the light of their origin. Such forms will hide themselves from the student who thinks they are dead. For him they