As I said in my first review, this book is so packed with information about Alexander von Humboldt and others of the era that it’s definitely worth a second reading. So I did it – I was sure I’d missed some stuff. And, without getting flowery or excessive, it’s nicely written, too, so I had an enjoyable time.
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World x2
by Andrea Wulff
2020 / 396 pages Kindle
Read by David Drummond 14h 3m Rating 10/ biog/history/science
(Both read and listened)
This is great because between this book and the Melvin Sheldrake’s The Entangled World, I’m finally “getting” the concept of art and science combined, usually in nature writing. But science is usually concerned with measurement while art is more involved with aesthetics. Humboldt did it, Sheldrake did it, Thoreau did it, Haeckel did it and it’s done today.
There are so many convergences in these two books – even the science is related as Humboldt invents, Sheldrake develops. And Sheldrake mentions and gives credit to Humboldt more than once – as well as many others, of course. Wulff, otoh, also includes the art and poetry Humboldt tried to include before the sciences got so specialized. Wulff gets all the way to John Muir in traveling the courses of those who were inspired by Humboldt. (I didn’t even mention Muir in my first review!)
Today hundreds of buildings, streets, rivers, etc are named for Humboldt and yet few people remember who he was or what he did. He was a tremendous figure in the history of earth science – one of the real pioneers.