(This book cannot be returned.)
I have the crazy idea to represent in one work the entire material universe, everything we know today of the phenomena in the celestial spaces and of life on earth, from the stars in the nebulae to the geography of mosses and gigantic rocks, in a vivid language that will stimulate the imagination.--from Humboldt's 1834 letter to Karl Varnhagen
The first volume of Cosmos, his five-volume survey of the universe, appeared in 1845, though Humboldt had labored on the entire work for nearly half a century. He scrupulously sent sections of the work to other experts for suggestions and corrections. The last volume, put together from his notes after his death, appeared in 1861. The volumes were translated almost as rapidly as they appeared. This paperback edition reprints the Harper & Brothers edition, published in New York in 1858-59.
About the Author
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) embodied the enlightenment ideal as well as anyone in his age. Explorer, courtier, laboratory scientist, he built a lasting reputation on the effectiveness of his methods, the quality of his writings, and the strength of his friendships. Goethe, John C. Fremont, Samuel Morse, and Charles Lyell were among his colleagues. He practically founded the fields of meteorology, oceanography, and seismology. His influence in the United States was immense. As a scientist, he prompted academic leaders to strengthen curricula. As a geographer, he assisted in America's westward expansion. As an advisor of eminent men, he urged for the abolition of slavery and protection of American Indians. As an author, he inspired and informed a love of nature that persists to this day.