Alexander von Humboldt: A Metabiography by Nicolaas A. RupkeAlexander von Humboldt: A Metabiography by Nicolaas A. Rupke

Alexander von Humboldt: A Metabiography

byNicolaas A. Rupke

Paperback | June 1, 2008

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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
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.   
Title:Alexander von Humboldt: A MetabiographyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:316 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:June 1, 2008Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226731499

ISBN - 13:9780226731490

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Table of Contents

Chronology of Alexander von Humboldt's Life

Introduction: The Several Lives of Alexander von Humboldt
     The Humboldt Phenomenon
     Appropriating Humboldt
     Fashioning Himself

Chapter 1: Liberal Democrat before the Empire Period
     National Hero of the "Forty-Eighters"
     The Long Shadow of Bismarck
     Kosmos and Volksbilding
     Literary Face of German Science
     Subversive Democrat at the Prussian Court

Chapter 2: The Wilhelmian and Weimar Kultur Chauvinist
     Identity Changes
     Kultur Nationalist
     Special Envoy to Latin America
Chapter 3: The Aryan Supremacist of National Socialism
     Kosmos and German Idealism
     Certification of Aryan Purity
     Friend of Faupel

Chapter 4: East Germany's Antislavery Marxist
     The Academy's Socialist
     The GDR as Humboldt's Rightful Heir
     Denazification  — East
     Nearly a Miner
     Between Forster and Marx
     The Great Abolitionist
     "Our Man in Havana"
Chapter 5: West Germany's Cosmopolitan Friend of the Jews
     Fraternity Member
     Denazification — West
     Cosmopolitan Liberal
     Friend of the Jews
     "... Almost an American"
Chapter 6: Today's Pioneer of Globalization
     Free Market Victorious
     Globalization "Wessie"
     A Green Humboldt
     Postmodernist Cracks
     Outing Humboldt
Conclusion: Humboldt Forever
     Humboldt and Germany
     Institutional Embeddedness
     Political Regimes and Biographical Truths
     Metabiographical Reflections

List of Institutions and Political Parties
A Note on Citation
Printed Sources

Editorial Reviews

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