Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was a world traveler, bestselling writer, and versatile researcher, a European salon sensation and global celebrity.
Yet the enormous literary echo he generated has remained largely unexplored.
Humboldt inspired generations of authors, from Goethe and Byron to Enzensberger and Garcia Marquez, to reflect on cultural difference, colonial ideology, and the relation between aesthetics and science.
This collection of one-hundred texts features tales of adventure, travel reports, novellas, memoirs, letters, poetry, drama, screenplays, and even comics - many for the first time in English.
The selection covers the foundational myths and magical realism of Latin America, the intellectual independence of Emerson, Thoreau, Poe, and Whitman in the United States, discourses in Imperial, Weimar, Nazi, East and West Germany, as well as recent films and fiction.
This documented source book addresses scholars in cultural and postcolonial studies as well as readers in history and comparative literature.