“Ein beschränkter Verstandesmensch ohne Einbildungskraft”

  • In a letter dated August 6, 1797 to his friend Christian Gottfried Körner, Friedrich Schiller characterized Alexander von Humboldt as a person of limited imagination, who, in spite of his numerous activities, would never be able to achieve greatness in his scientific pursuits. Yet, only in 1849 did Humboldt learn of Schiller’s opinion from the published correspondence between Schiller and Körner. Nonetheless, Humboldt declared that this basically unjust characterization of himself by Schiller would never prevent him from admiring the great German playwright and poet; moreover, Humboldt looked for comfort in a similarly harsh opinion of Johann Gottfried Herder also expressed by Schiller. In the end, Humboldt could barely conceal his feelings of disappointment regarding Schiller’s opinion, especially because Humboldt had considered Schiller to be his friend.

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Author:Ingo Schwarz
Subtitle (German):Anmerkungen zu Friedrich Schillers Urteil über Alexander von Humboldt
Document Type:Postprint
Year of Completion:2003
Publishing Institution:Universität Potsdam
Release Date:2009/09/02
Source:HiN : Alexander von Humboldt im Netz, IV (2003) 6
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 IV, 6 (2003)
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works 3.0 unported
Notes extern:The original publication is available at