chapter
14 Pages

"The conquest of the world, the advent to power of the

There is here then a problem of the rational organization of the labour. When we possess yet more good new regional monographs, then, and then only, by grouping and comparing them with the utmost care shall we be able to take up the general question, and to make a fresh and decided advance towards our end. To proceed in any other way would mean setting out on a kind of rapid excursion, fitted out with two or three simple and large ideas. It would mean passing over, in most cases, anything peculiar, individual, or irregularthat is to say, in short, all that is most interesting. It would almost inevitably mean a concession tothat "mania for classification " which a geographer of great ability denounced not long ago. "A mania for classification "--let there be no mistake about it: the phrase is addressed to geographers only; and the example which Gautier gives· is a strictly geographical one. It concerns the formation of the dunes in the Sahara, in reference to which the author points out the difficulty we always experience "in conceiving the complexity of a natural process". 2 "Because the dunes are formed by the wind, the wind must be made to explain everything, not only the exterior shape of the dunes, but even the formation of the sand which composes them."