Alexander von Humboldt (Paperback)

A Metabiography

By Nicolaas A. Rupke

University of Chicago Press, 9780226731490, 316pp.

Publication Date: June 1, 2008

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (11/25/2005)
Hardcover (1/1/2005)

List Price: 28.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

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.
This volume, the first metabiography of the great scientist, traces Humboldt’s biographical identities through Germany’s collective past to shed light on the historical instability of our scientific heroes.
 
“Rupke’s study . . . will doubtless become a standard reference for the Humboldt industry and for writers of scientific metabiographies to come.”—Isis
 
“Engaging. . . . Rupke’s meticulous analysis is fascinating on many scores.”—Times Higher Education Supplement (UK)
 
“A study borne of considerable scholarship and one with important methodological implications for historians of geography.”—Charles W. J. Withers, Progress in Human Geography
 
 


About the Author

Nicolaas A. Rupke is professor of the history of science and director of the Institute for the History of Science at Göttingen, Germany. He is the author of several books, including Richard Owen: Victorian Naturalist.
 
 
 


Praise For Alexander von Humboldt: A Metabiography

“Rupke is right to draw attention to the fact that shifting biographical traditions make one person have many lives, and his metabiography helps us to appreciate the historical instability of any scientific life, not just one as complex as Humboldt’s. . . . Rupke has given us a Humboldt just right for our own less certain and more self-conscious times—fractured, multiple and unstable.”

— Steven Shapin

“Rupke’s study . . . will doubtless become a standard reference for the Humboldt industry and for writers of scientific metabiographies to come.”


— Isis

“Engaging. . . . Rupke’s meticulous analysis is fascinating on many scores.”


— John Meurig Thomas

“A study borne of considerable scholarship and one with important methodological implications for historians of geography.”


— Charles W. J. Withers

“The book examines how Humboldt has been portrayed in the biographical literature by his fellow Germans. . . . With each major shift in politics, a new image of Humboldt was created. . . . A marvelously fascinating book.”


— Annals of Science

“A detailed, rewarding, and well-illustrated account.”


— British Journal for the History of Science