"Geography Is Twinned with Divinity": The Laudian Geography of Peter Heylyn

By Mayhew, Robert J. | The Geographical Review, January 2000 | Go to article overview

"Geography Is Twinned with Divinity": The Laudian Geography of Peter Heylyn


Mayhew, Robert J., The Geographical Review


ABSTRACT. This critical history of geography looks to the political concepts that historical actors held and analyzes the incorporation of these concepts into geography. Peter Heylyn, who politicized his geographical books Microcosmus (1621) and, still more, Cosmographie (1657), followed William Laud's characteristic brand of High Church Anglicanism, avowedly hostile both to Roman Catholicism and to Calvinist forms of Protestantism, while upholding an ideal of the Church of England as both independent and apostolic. Further, Laudians were stalwart defendants of monarchy as a divine institution. This Laudian vision of church and state informed Heylyn's geographical works, which goes against a received wisdom that they are divorced from his polemical historical, political, and theological tracts. We thus recover the politics of early modern geography as contemporaries might have understood them. Keywords: Peter Heylyn, history of geography, Laudianism, politics, theology.

Contemporary human geography in the Anglo-American world has taken to the adjective "critical" as a species of mantra. Though multifaceted, critical human geography is united in adopting a "hermeneutics of suspicion" (Scruton 1990, 242), wherein claims to geographical knowledge are examined to show their ideological foundations in various forms of identity politics: of class, race, gender, and the like.

This critical turn has also been manifested in the revival of interest in writing histories of geography over the past fifteen years. Geography's history has been seen as "X-rated" (Livingstone 1992, 1-3), because of its complicity with various oppressive political projects, notably those of empire (Hudson 1977; Harvey 1984). Replacing triumphalist histories of geography's rise to scientific respectability (Hartshorne 1939; Martin and James 1993) are critical histories of geography as the science of empire (Godlewska and Smith 1994).

Two lacunae in the approach of geography's critical historians have appeared. First, in chronological terms, geography prior to its nineteenth-century incarnation as the servant of empire has been entirely neglected (Mayhew 1998, 385-388). Where earlier historians such as Geoffrey Martin and Preston James looked at geography from the ancients to the present, critical historians have truncated geography's history, evidently uninterested in or unable to address the myriad geography books of the early modern period (Sitwell 1993). Second, critical historians of geography have assumed, contrary to the insights of historians of political thought (Pocock 1985, 1-34; Skinner 1988), that their twentieth- (and presumably twenty-first-) century political vocabularies can be applied unproblematically in past contexts.

The present essay takes issue with both of these lacunae in critical histories of geography, by looking at the politics of geography in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the early modern period. This was well before geography's era as a servant of empire. Politics in that day had its own contemporary definitions of the sphere of political discourse, and it is useful not to impose modern political categories on time and place five centuries past. The goal of the essay is to exemplify a new critical history of geography, one critical in the sense of rigor but not dismissively condemnatory.

PRELUDE: POLITICS AND GEOGRAPHY IN THE AGE OF CAMDEN

In the period between 1600 and 1800, politics meant what we might now term "high politics," excluding the cultural and social elements that modern analyses of ideology seek to uncover. Politics referred to discussions of dynastic legitimacy, of representation, and of the Constitution. Within this political sphere, arguments relied on historical example to a far greater extent than in the present day. Britain developed a pattern of argumentation from the perceived operation of common law by precedent and from the tradition of civic humanism inspired by Greek and Roman history (Pocock 1975,1987). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

"Geography Is Twinned with Divinity": The Laudian Geography of Peter Heylyn
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.