Sunday, August 07, 2005

Humboldt's Cosmos

One thing that I would like to do in this blog is pass along the names of worthwhile books that I come across in my travels. During my recent visit to Oaxaca, I bumped into Humboldt's Cosmos at the wonderful Librería Amate bookstore on the Alcalá pedestrian mall. This well-researched and highly readable book by Gerard Helfrich deals with the life and writings of Alexander von Humboldt, perhaps the most famous and influential of the New World's 18th-century explorers. Charles Darwin was inspired by Humboldt's writings, as were many other great thinkers. Here is what Ralph Waldo Emerson had to say about Humboldt:

"Humboldt was one of the wonders of the world, like Aristotle, like Julius Caesar...who appear from time to time as if to show us the possibilities of the human mind, the force and range of the faculties - a universal man."

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