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A Metabiography of Alexander von Humboldt
Nicolaas A. Rupke
HiN. Alexander von Humboldt im Netz , 2006,
Abstract: Article in English.The author's recently published monograph on Alexander von Humboldt describes the multiple images of this great cultural icon. The book is a metabiographical study that shows how from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present day Humboldt has served as a nucleus of crystallisation for a variety of successive socio-political ideologies, each producing its own distinctive representation of him. The historiographical implications of this biographical diversity are profound and support current attempts to understand historical scholarship in terms of memory cultures.
Alexander von Humboldt: Biblioteca digital  [cached]
Sandra Rebok
HiN. Alexander von Humboldt im Netz , 2005,
Abstract: Article in Spanish, Abstracts in English, Spanish and German.This article presents a project for the digitization of the works of Alexander von Humboldt, which is being undertaken in collaboration with the Ignacio Larramendi Foundation. Like other projects of this type, its aim is to utilize modern technology to make a significant part of Humboldt’s legacy available to researchers and other readers, thereby facilitating the study and reading of these works. This project will focus on the Spanish translations that have been undertaken over the years. Humboldt’s works in their original French and German versions will subsequently be included alongside their respective Spanish translations. Finally, this edition will be accompanied by a comprehensive introduction devoted to the history of these Spanish translations and the impact they have had in Spain, as well as to the people who have dedicated themselves to the translation and dissemination of these works in this country.
Alexander von Humboldt and the Beginning of the Environmental Movement
Engelhard Weigl
HiN. Alexander von Humboldt im Netz , 2001,
Abstract: Article in English, Abstracts in English and German.In the middle of the 19th century the question whether expanding civilization and industrialization had an effect on climate was discussed intensely worldwide. It was feared that increasing deforestation would lead to continuous decrease in rainfall. This first scientific discussion about climate change as the result of human intervention was strongly influenced by the research Alexander von Humboldt and Jean-Baptiste Boussingault had undertaken when they investigated the falling water levels of Lake Valencia in Venezuela. This essay aims to clarify the question whether Alexander von Humboldt can be counted among the leading figures of modern environmentalism on account of this research as is being claimed by Richard H. Grove in his influential book Green Imperialism. Colonial Expansion, Tropical Island Edens and Origins of Environmentalism, 1600-1860 (1995).
Geschichte der Natur bei Alexander von Humboldt  [cached]
Christian Helmreich
HiN. Alexander von Humboldt im Netz , 2009,
Abstract: Article in German, Abstracts in English, German and French.This article analyses the importance of an historical view of nature in the works of Alexander von Humboldt. In several of his first writings, Humboldt seems to outline the importance of what one may call history of nature. But even before his famous American travel, his position changed and he became reluctant to accept the seriousness of historical enquiry in the area of natural sciences: if we want to reconstruct the past state of nature, we cannot rely on empirical proofs; and history of nature is therefore necessarily based on uncertain hypotheses. Humboldt kept his sceptical attitude in the first decades of the 19th century, despite the positive results of the palaeontological researches of his scientific colleagues. However, he gradually convinced himself of the scientific interest of historical investigations in the natural sciences. The Cosmos paradoxally displays two apparently conflicting points of view: in his methodological remarks, Humboldt maintains that precise accounts of the past state of nature are out of reach of human knowledge, yet elsewhere in the same Cosmos he gives broad and rather vivid descriptions of the eventful history of nature.
Bildnisse mit Berg: Goethe und Alexander von Humboldt  [cached]
Renato Giuseppe Mazzolini
HiN. Alexander von Humboldt im Netz , 2004,
Abstract: Article in German, translated by Wolfgang B ker, Abstracts in English and GermanBoth Alexander von Humboldt and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe have been portrayed in their later years anachronistically before the background of a mountain that had been of high significance in their earlier biography and carreer. For Goethe this was the Vesuvio, and for Humboldt the Chimborazo. This paper examines the numerous conceptual and formal parallels between the two paintings which make it probable that the Goethe portrait served as a blueprint for the portrait of Humboldt.
Identit t und Differenz Goethes Faust und Alexander von Humboldt
Heinz Krumpel
HiN. Alexander von Humboldt im Netz , 2007,
Abstract: Article in German, Abstracts in English, Spanish and GermanIn the article “Identity and difference between Goethe`s Faust and Alexander von Humboldt” the issue of how much Faust is contained in Humboldt and in which way Goethe`s Faust has to be related to Alexander von Humboldt is discussed. Here the connection of activity, knowledge and vision as well as the relationship between humans and nature are central to the examination. Goethe and Humboldt were greatly influenced by the enlightenment. Their ideas and visions show us today that modernity is an incomplete project. In Goethe`s Faust the question of the essence of mankind is posed because there is a hint of Faust and Mephisto in each human. With Humboldt those principles acted among other things as a driving force for greater productitivity and the extraction of knowledge. Even though Faust did not fail in his bet with Mephisto, on the other hand he also did not win. Humboldt, however, would have won the bet. Considering the global ecological crisis and regional conflicts today the idea of the relation of Goethe′s Faust and Humboldt has an astonishing relevance.
Goethe und Alexander von Humboldt - Bau und Geschichte der Erde
Wolf von Engelhardt
HiN. Alexander von Humboldt im Netz , 2001,
Abstract: Article in German, Abstracts in English and German. An account is given on Goethe's criticism of Alexander von Humboldt's writings: "Ueber den Bau und die Wirkungsart der Vulkane in den verschiedenen Erdstrichen" (Berlin 1823) und "Fragmens de géologie et de climatologie asiatique" (Paris 1831).
Spurensuche einer Rezeptionsgeschichte Alexander von Humboldt und Johann Gottfried Herder  [cached]
Bernhard Hunger
HiN. Alexander von Humboldt im Netz , 2009,
Abstract: Article in German, Abstracts in English, German and Spanish.Alexander von Humboldt's work displays traces of Johann Gottfried Herder which are as multifaceted as the references to the latter are scarce. In light of this aspect, the present essay focuses on Humboldt's Physiognomy of Plants (1806), in which he explicitly mentions Herder for the first time in a publication. Two years later, the text is incorporated within Aspects of Nature (1808 ff.). In the third edition of Aspects (1849), Herder's name is curiously omitted. This omission is incomprehensible both in form and content. The historical context characterising the years between 1805 and 1808 suggests that Humboldt's references to Herder must have been made very deliberately. Humboldt's correspondence with the historian Johannes von M ller and other sources shows that Humboldt carefully studied Herder's writings. As the publisher of Herder's complete works, Johannes von M ller, who was Humboldtís friend and neighbour at the time, even considered Humboldt to be a direct descendant of the Herder school.
Alexander von Humboldt’s Images of Landscape and the ‘Chaos of the Poets’  [cached]
Rex Clark
HiN. Alexander von Humboldt im Netz , 2005,
Abstract: Article in English, Abstracts in English, German and Spanish.Alexander von Humboldt’s descriptions of volcanic mountains in his travel journals (Reise auf dem Río Magdalena, durch die Anden und Mexico) show both his reliance on and impatience with literary conventions and travel narratives. Using Goethe’s Italienische Reise and Bürger’s Münchhausen as points of comparison for literary treatments of the volcano ascent, Humboldt’s process of writing is examined. Humboldt shows the failure of the existing discourse and begins to experiment with narratives which fragment and recombine personal and historical modes of writing with, in this case, images from new technical inventions which visualize landscape according to fundamental scientific principles. While the inclusion of scientific prose is relevant, Humboldt’s link to modernity is based on experimental narrative techniques which draw upon changing sets of discourse practices to describe complex realities.
Abenteuer Alexander-von-Humboldt-Bibliographie  [cached]
Christian Suckow
HiN. Alexander von Humboldt im Netz , 2002,
Abstract: Article in German; Abstracts in English and German.The two attempts (1860 and 1872) to compile a bibliography of all works of Alexander von Humboldt have to be regarded as failures. Due to Humboldt’s scientific methods, the contemporary popularity of his writings, and the conditions of book publishing and selling, it has been difficult to achieve an overview of his uvre. Thus each attempt to write a reliable or at least partially complete bibliography of Humboldt’s works constituted an adventure. Horst Fiedler and Ulrike Leitner have mastered this undertaking. As a result of their efforts over more than two decades, a bibliography of those works by Humboldt which were published in book form appeared in the year 2000.
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