Alexander von Humboldt: A Metabiography

Alexander von Humboldt: A Metabiography

by Nicolaas A. Rupke
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226731499

ISBN-13: 9780226731490

Pub. Date: 06/01/2008

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is one of the most celebrated figures of late-modern science, famous for his work in physical geography, botanical geography, and climatology, and his role as one of the first great popularizers of the sciences. His momentous accomplishments have intrigued German biographers from the Prussian era to the fall of the Berlin wall,

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Overview

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is one of the most celebrated figures of late-modern science, famous for his work in physical geography, botanical geography, and climatology, and his role as one of the first great popularizers of the sciences. His momentous accomplishments have intrigued German biographers from the Prussian era to the fall of the Berlin wall, all of whom configured and reconfigured Humboldt's life according to the sensibilities of the day.

Rupke's research reveals multiple portraits of the prolific scientist, each drawn by institutions with their own social and political agendas. We are shown Humboldt as Liberal Democrat, Darwinian Monist, Aryan Supremacist, Marxist, Philosemitic Cosmopolitan, and as "Today's Pioneer of Globalization."

About the Author:
Nicolaas A. Rupke is professor of the history of science and director of the Institute for the History of Science at Gottingen, Germany

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226731490
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
06/01/2008
Pages:
316
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents


Illustrations     7
Prefaces     9
Chronology of Alexander von Humboldt's Life     11
Introduction: The Several Lives of Alexander von Humboldt
The Humboldt Phenomenon     13
Appropriating Humboldt     15
Fashioning Himself     20
Liberal Democrat before the Empire Period
National Hero of the "Forty-Eighters"     29
The Long Shadow of Bismarck     34
Kosmos and Volksbildung     38
Literary Face of German Science     43
Subversive Democrat at the Prussian Court     48
The Wilhelmian and Weimar Kultur Chauvinist
Identity Changes     55
Darwinian Monist     60
Kultur Nationalist     67
Special Envoy to Latin America     75
The Aryan Supremacist of National Socialism
Nazification     81
Kosmos and German Idealism     88
Certification of Aryan Purity     92
Friend of Faupel     99
East Germany's Antislavery Marxist
The Academy's Socialist     105
The GDR as Humboldt's Rightful Heir     111
Denazification - East     115
Nearly a Miner     119
Between Forster and Marx     123
The Great Abolitionist     127
"Our Man in Havana"     132
West Germany's Cosmopolitan Friend of the Jews
Westernization     141
Fraternity Member     150
Denazification - West     153
Cosmopolitan Liberal     158
Friend of the Jews     162
"... almost an American"     169
Today's Pioneer of Globalization
Free Market Victorious     175
Globalization "Wessie"     179
A Green Humboldt     185
Anglification     187
Postmodernist Cracks     192
Outing Humboldt     195
Conclusion: Humboldt Forever
Humboldt and Germany     203
Institutional Embeddedness     206
Political Regimes and Biographical Truths     210
Metabiographical Reflections     215
List of Institutions and Political Parties     219
A Note on Citation     225
Printed Sources     227
Index     303

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