Contents

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List of Illustrations

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p. xiii

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Preface

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pp. xv-xix

Because I grew up on one, geographical borders have always fascinated me. The Delaware River formed the natural border of my childhood. From my bedroom window I could see it and another state. We lived on the New Jersey side just up from where George Washington...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xxi-xxii

A book on places wouldn’t be possible without some special people and their places. I wish to thank the following people for housing me during certain key moments when parts of this project were either written or being formed: Elene Van Noy for Titusville, New Jersey; Richard and Debra Van...

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1. Introduction: Surveying the Height of Our Mountains, the Country of Our Mind

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pp. 1-37

In his opening to the chapter “The Country of the Mind,” from Arctic Dreams, Barry Lopez tells us that “the daily cycle of tides” on Pingok Island is “hard to read” (252). You can measure the vertical rise of these tides, he writes, “with a fingertip” (252). On the corresponding page is a map of Pingok Island...

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2. Surveying the Strange: Henry David Thoreau’s Intelligence of Place

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pp. 38-72

After deciding that his father’s pencil factory wasn’t a satisfactory “place” to earn a living, Thoreau became a surveyor and cartographer by trade.1 Lawrence Buell writes that Thoreau was “very likely the most skillful cartographer who ever penned a literary classic”...

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3. Mapping the Mirage: Clarence King’s Impressions of Place

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pp. 73-99

Leaving Thoreau, who, after his climb of Mount Katahdin, still marveled at the “wav[ing] virgin forest of the New World . . . unmapped and unexplored,” I turn now to one who explored and mapped that “new” territory, Clarence King. After graduating from the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale...

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4. Surveying the Sublime: John Wesley Powell’s Representations of Place

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pp. 100-141

John Wesley Powell was the quintessential mapmaker. In 1881, when he took over the USGS from Clarence King, Powell initiated and oversaw a plan to map the whole country according to a uniform system of mapping conventions, since none yet existed in America or Europe. The system he pushed through has remained the standard even today. Specifically, Powell’s...

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5. Geography of Repose: Wallace Stegner’s Middle Ground

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pp. 142-170

We have examined at least two kinds of surveying in this book. One is the map survey, which seeks to impose an order on landscape, sees it from afar, and is objective and quantifiable. The other is the denizen’s survey, which also seeks an order, but one closer to the way an insider knows the...

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6. Conclusion: "A Map of Connextion”

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pp. 171-185

The broad-shouldered frame of North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell rises to 6,684 firm feet pressed solidly against the sky, above all other mountain peaks in the East. The summit is a narrow band of cool, heavily shadowed forests of spruce and balsam fir spread along the ridgeline. This is a boreal habitat, one closer in character to parts of Canada and Katahdin...

Notes

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pp. 187-197

Works Cited

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pp. 199-209

Index

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pp. 211-220