, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 577-579
Date: 31 Dec 2010

Alexander von Humboldt: Counternarrative of a dissenter?

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access
This is an excerpt from the content

When, in 2009, Charles Darwin’s bicentennial was celebrated all over the world, Alexander von Humboldt—whom Darwin admired and whose American travel account he head read on the Beagle—remained in the Englishman’s shadow. The fact that Humboldt had passed away in 1859 at least allowed historians to honor yet another anniversary, i.e., exactly one and a half centuries of post-Humboldtian commemoration. Darwin’s seminal insights into the principle of evolution, the variability of species, and the struggle for life among these (which others abbreviated in the even more powerful—and misused—phrase “survival of the fittest”) seemed to outmatch the sprawling, hard-to-compress oeuvre of the Prussian naturalist Humboldt. The history of Humboldt’s publication alone is so complicated that, in 2000, a 500-page bibliography was published in Germany to trace the man’s published record. More importantly, Darwin’s thoughts still mobilize public opinion and fuel outcry on the part of Christian fundamen ...