Synopses & Reviews
Alexander von Humboldt became a wholly new kind of nineteenth-century hero - the scientist-explorer - and in Personal Narrative he invented a new literary genre, the travelogue. Between 1799 and 1804 he explored the tropical Spanish Americas, by his death in 1859 he had won international fame. He was the first European to discuss, draw and speculate on Aztec art, the first to observe reverse polarity in magnetism, the first to propagate the notion of seismic waves, the first to discover why America is called America. A true Romantic, an admirer of Rousseau and close friend of Goethe, Humboldt was a passionate observer, never a colonial despoiler, and his writings made a profound impact upon the course of Victorian science. This volume contains a fascinating selection from Humboldt's original 1,997 pages of Personal Narrative, in the first English translation to appear since 1851.
One of the greatest nineteenth-century scientist-explorers, Alexander von Humboldt traversed the tropical Spanish Americas between 1799 and 1804. By the time of his death in 1859, he had won international fame for his scientific discoveries, his observations of Native American peoples and his detailed descriptions of the flora and fauna of the 'new continent'. The first to draw and speculate on Aztec art, to observe reverse polarity in magnetism and to discover why America is called America, his writings profoundly influenced the course of Victorian culture, causing Darwin to reflect: 'He alone gives any notion of the feelings which are raised in the mind on first entering the Tropics.'
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust theseries to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-datetranslations by award-winning translators."
Alexander von Humboldt visited the tropics of the New World between 1799 and 1804. On his return he wrote this book, a classic work of travel that is also one of the great products of enlightenment natural science. This book looks at the man and his work.
Includes bibliographical references (p. lxx-lxxii).
Table of Contents
Translated by Jason Wilson with an Introduction by Malcolm Nicolson
Historical Introduction by Malcolm Nicolson
Introduction by Jason Wilson