|Series||Humboldt library of popular science literature, April, 1883, no. 43|
|The Physical Object|
|Pagination||46 p. ;|
|Number of Pages||46|
The acclaimed author of Founding Gardeners reveals the forgotten life of Alexander von Humboldt, the visionary German naturalist whose ideas changed the way we see the natural world—and in the process created modern environmentalism. NATIONAL BEST SELLER. One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year. Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book ISBN: His five years travelling the world on board the naval sailing ship, H.M.S. Beagle, were the most formative of Charles Darwin’s life, and it was a book that began it. Alexander von Humboldt’s Personal Narrative, a seven-volume account of his journey to South America in the opening years of the nineteenth century, caught Darwin’s imagination so strongly that he couldn’t wait to travel himself. Genre/Form: Biographies Book Biography: Additional Physical Format: Print version: Darwin and Humboldt. [New York: J. Fitzgerald, ] (OCoLC) Humboldt was reviving an ancient idea that Earth was a living organism, thinking that was dealt a blow with the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species six months after Humboldt died and suffered two more with the discovery of Mendelian genetics and DNA.
It is known that Humboldt’s books were a constant source of guidance and inspiration for the traveling Darwin including Darwin’s narrative that was greatly influenced by Humboldt’s poetic writing. Darwin would not have been Darwin without Humboldt. Darwin himself said he would have never boarded the Beagle without Humboldt, and . As with Darwin’s voyage on the Beagle 32 years later, all of Humboldt’s work was founded on a single momentous journey, which becomes the centerpiece of Wulf’s book. In , Humboldt set off for. The expedition generated an endless stream of publications in which Humboldt compiled, analysed, and represented that data in tables and distribution maps alongside prose that urged an aesthetic appreciation of nature. When Darwin was a student at Christ’s College, Humboldt’s Personal Narrative fuelled his first truly grand ambitions. He was captivated by Humboldt’s descriptions of the tropics, .
While Humboldt thrived in France and wrote bestselling books on South America’s flora and fauna, his restless mind could not stop thinking of other places to explore. He set his sights on India and the Himalayas, and his determined sadly unsuccessful search . After reading Darwin's writings from the Beagle, Humboldt wrote to Darwin: “You told me in your kind letter that, when you were young, the manner in which I studied and depicted nature in the torrid zones contributed toward exciting in you the ardor and desire to travel in distant lands. Considering the importance of your work, Sir, this may be the greatest success that my humble work could bring. —Sarah Darwin, Financial Times“This book sets out to restore Humboldt to his rightful place in the pantheon of natural scientists. In the process, Wulf does a great deal more. This meticulously researched work—part biography, part cabinet of curiosities—takes us on an exhilarating armchair voyage through some of the world’s least. Darwin had plenty of time to read and reread his copies of Humboldt’s books. The voyage lasted five years from to Wulf equates Humboldt’s idea of a web of life with Darwin’s notes, “that all plants and animals ‘are bound together by a web of complex relations.’”.