Alexander von Humboldt

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859)

An explorer and naturalist, many of his works were written in French and subsequently translated into German.

‘Die gefährlichste Weltanschauung ist die Weltanschauung derer, die die Welt nie angeschaut haben.’

‘The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who have not viewed the world.’

(This quotation is widely attributed to Alexander von Humboldt).

Selected Works

Voyage au Nouveau Continent (1812); Authorised German translation by Hermann Hauff: Reise in die Aequinoctial-Gegenden des neuen Continents (Stuttgart: J. G. Cotta, 1859); Voyage to the New Continent

Kosmos – Entwurf einer physischen Weltbeschreibung, 5 vols (1845–1862); Cosmos: a sketch of a physical description of the universe; trans. by E. C. Otté, 5 vols.

Further Reading in English

Andrea Acle-Kreysing and Adrián Herrera Fuentes (eds.), German Life and Letters 74:3 (2021), Special Issue: The Legacy of Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859). A Critical Reappraisal 250 Years On

James F. Howell, ‘The Hagiography of a Secular Saint: Alexander von Humboldt and the Scientism of the German Democratic Republic’, German Quarterly 91:1 (2018)

Further Reading in German

Heinrich Detering, Menschen im Weltgarten. Die Entdeckung der Ökologie in der Literatur von Haller bis Humboldt (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2020)

Web Link in German

Alexander von Humboldt research centre in Bern, Switzerland