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First English translation of any parts of Humboldt's original 1,997 pages of the Personal Narrative since 1851. This volume contains selections translated and chosen by James Wilson, and features an introduction by Malcolm Nicholson.
From the publisher's announcement:
Alexander von Humboldt visited the tropics of the New World between 1799 and 1804. On his return he wrote this book, a classic work of travel that is also one of the great products of Enlightenment natural science. In his lifetime, Humboldt was described as "next to Napoleon, the most famous man in Europe". An admirer of the French Revolution, a Neptunist, an anti-slavist, a lover of Rousseau and Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, and a close friend of Goethe (whom he resembled), he was also a profound influence upon Darwin and the course of Victorian science, as well as upon the proponents of new world independence.
'I formerly admired Humboldt, I now almost adore him; he alone gives any notion of the feelings which are raised in the mind on first entering the Tropics' Charles Darwin in 1832.
'Humboldt ... is a fine guide to recovering some of the spontaneity and enthusiasm of the traveller' Alain de Botton, Independent on Sunday