University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science > 'I am rhapsodic man': Alexander von Humboldt in search of himself

'I am rhapsodic man': Alexander von Humboldt in search of himself

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In recent years, Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) has resurfaced as a heroic, public figure. Popular accounts and new text editions suggest that the Prussian-born scholar is one of us in the 21st century: ecological in his thinking, democratic in his beliefs, and far ahead of his own epoch. In contrast, Andreas Daum calls for carefully historicizing Humboldt. Based on an ongoing biographical project, his talk will concentrate on the 1790s, when the young Humboldt pursued widespread research interests and simultaneously tried to reconcile his divergent passions. Rather than navigating on a straightforward course toward his American journey and a future era, Humboldt became entangled in the uncertainties of the revolutionary times that surrounded him. He embarked on a rhapsodic search of himself as a mensch, researcher and friend to his male companions.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science series.

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