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Cosmos and Colonialism
Alexander von Humboldt in Cultural Criticism
Edited by Rex Clark and Oliver Lubrich
364 pages, 7 ills, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-0-85745-266-5 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (April 2012)
“[The essays] reflect the amazing breadth of interests of the German scientist, emphasizing in particular his travels in and commentary (scientific and political) on South America. The[y] cover a period of more than 200 years and have relevance not only for historians of science, but also for scholars of German and French literature, Latin American studies, travel literature, philosophy, and history.” · Choice
“There is no doubt that these volumes combine the most comprehensive collection of texts for the colorful and shifting history of Humboldt's fame...By laboriously assembling, and in many cases translating, an impressive number of texts from remote corners of libraries and collections, Clark and Lubrich have provided a valuable service to scholars and the general public. In this process they have filled a neglected space in the literature about Humboldt. They have pointed to the issues of colonialism and integrated Latin American voices and into the dialogue about Humboldt, a dialogue that concerns primarily Latin America. the world that Humboldt treated so exhaustively in histwenty-nine volumes. “ · Yearbook of German-American Studies
Alexander von Humboldt explored the Spanish Empire on the verge of its collapse (1799–1804). He is the most significant German travel writer and the most important mediator between Europe and the Americas of the nineteenth century. His works integrated knowledge from two dozen domains. Today, he is at the center of debates on imperial discourse, postcolonialism, and globalization. This collection of fifty essays brings together a range of responses, many presented here for the first time in English. Authors from Schiller, Chateaubriand, Sarmiento, and Nietzsche, to Robert Musil, Kurt Tucholsky, Ernst Bloch, and Alejo Carpentier paint the historical background. Essays by contemporary travel writers and recent critics outline the current controversies on Humboldt. The source materials collected here will be indispensable to scholars of German, French, and Latin and North American literature as well as cultural and postcolonial studies, history, art history, and the history of science.
Rex Clark is a Lecturer in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. He studied at the Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, researching the history of travel guides and travel discourse in the eighteenth century and focusing on Friedrich Nicolai, Georg Forster, and Alexander von Humboldt. He has published articles on digital media, postcolonial travel theory, and the reception of Alexander von Humboldt.
Oliver Lubrich is Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Universität Bern in Switzerland. He is the author of Shakespeare's Self-Deconstruction (2001) and Post-Colonial Poetics (2004, 2009) and the editor of Travels in the Reich, 1933-1945 (2010). He has edited or co-edited Alexander von Humboldt's Central Asia (2009), Kosmos (2004), and the first German version of Vues des Cordillères (2004), the Chimborazo Diary (2006) as well as the ethnographic and political essays (2009, 2010).
Also edited by Rex Clark and Oliver Lubrich: Transatlantic Echoes: Alexander von Humboldt in World Literature