A study of a gifted scientist and visionary who embodies the spirit of adventure and discovery. The incalculable influence of Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) on biology, botany, geology, and meteorology deservedly earned him the reputation as the world’s most illustrious scientist before Charles Darwin. Humboldt’s breath-taking explorations of Mexico and South America from 1799 to 1804 are akin to Europe’s second “discovery” of the New World - this time, a scientific one. His Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain is a foundational document about Mexico and its cultures and is still widely consulted by anthropologists, geographers, and historians.
In Humboldt’s Mexico, Myron Echenberg presents a straightforward guide with historical and cultural context to Humboldt’s travels in Mexico. Echenberg traces Humboldt’s journey, as described in his publications, his diary, and other writings, across the heartland of Mexico, while also pursuing Humboldt’s life, his science, his experiences, his influence on scholars of his time and after, and the various efforts by others to honour and at times to denigrate his legacy. Part history, part travelogue, and always highly readable and informative, Humboldt’s Mexico is an engaging account of a gifted scientist and visionary.
Myron Echenberg, author
Myron Echenberg is professor emeritus of history and classical studies at McGill University.
- Myron Echenberg’s lustrous book should take Humboldt’s work and ideas to a whole new generation of readers. - Literary Review of Canada
Rights Holder: McGill-Queen's University Press
rights available: World
number of pages: 288
publication date: 05/01/2017
Original language of pub: English