• search hit 12 of 21
Back to Result List

“Under the influence of an exotic nature...national remembrances are insensibly effaced”

  • My essay attends to a number of passages in Alexander von Humboldt’s Personal Narrative in which the Prussian explorer expresses anxiety about the apparent dangers posed by the overwhelmingly productive tropical landscapes he observes. In these passages, the excesses of an “exotic nature” threaten European identity and modes of civilization—and they trouble the accuracy of Humboldt’s own observational project. I also explore Humboldt’s related worry that South American vegetable (and visual) overload will exert a destabilizing effect on his aesthetic sensibility, disrupting his ability to represent the “New Continent” accurately in writing. Finally, I sketch the influence of Humboldt’s representations of tropical excess on nineteenth-century British cultural thought and literary practice. Studying the instabilities experienced by Personal Narrative’s expatriates and colonists promises to draw out important tensions latent in Humboldt’s treatment of tropical landscape and to illuminate broader epistemological and aesthetic shifts beingMy essay attends to a number of passages in Alexander von Humboldt’s Personal Narrative in which the Prussian explorer expresses anxiety about the apparent dangers posed by the overwhelmingly productive tropical landscapes he observes. In these passages, the excesses of an “exotic nature” threaten European identity and modes of civilization—and they trouble the accuracy of Humboldt’s own observational project. I also explore Humboldt’s related worry that South American vegetable (and visual) overload will exert a destabilizing effect on his aesthetic sensibility, disrupting his ability to represent the “New Continent” accurately in writing. Finally, I sketch the influence of Humboldt’s representations of tropical excess on nineteenth-century British cultural thought and literary practice. Studying the instabilities experienced by Personal Narrative’s expatriates and colonists promises to draw out important tensions latent in Humboldt’s treatment of tropical landscape and to illuminate broader epistemological and aesthetic shifts being worked out during the period.show moreshow less

Download full text files

Export metadata

Additional Services

Share in Twitter Search Google Scholar Statistics
Metadaten
Author:Jason H. Lindquist
URN:urn:nbn:de:kobv:517-opus-35109
ISSN:2568-3543
ISSN:1617-5239
Parent Title (German):HIN : Alexander von Humboldt im Netz ; international review for Humboldtian studies
Subtitle (English):Threats to the European subject in Humboldt’s personal narrative of travels to the equinoctial regions of the New Continent
Publisher:Universitätsverlag Potsdam
Place of publication:Potsdam
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of Completion:2004
Publishing Institution:Universität Potsdam
Publishing Institution:Universitätsverlag Potsdam
Release Date:2009/09/04
Tag:1799-1804; Europa
Relation historique
Volume:V
Issue:9
Pagenumber:16
First Page:44
Last Page:59
Source:HiN : Alexander von Humboldt im Netz, V (2004) 9
RVK - Regensburg Classification:GK 4953, NU 5089, WB 3187, RT 10026, RB 10032
Organizational units:Philosophische Fakultät / Institut für Romanistik
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 50 Naturwissenschaften / 509 Histor., geogr., personenbezogene Behandlung
9 Geschichte und Geografie / 91 Geografie, Reisen / 911 Historische Geografie
Collections:Universität Potsdam / Zeitschriften / HiN : Alexander von Humboldt im Netz ; International Review for Humboldtian Studies, ISSN 1617-5239 / HiN V, 9 (2004)
Peer Review:Referiert
Publication Way:Universitätsverlag Potsdam
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung, Nicht kommerziell 4.0 International
Notes extern:The original publication is available at
http://dx.doi.org/10.18443/52