Alexander Humboldt

Alexander Humboldt (1769 - 1859)

    Humboldt was the very model of the explorer / naturalist, and his travel books had many readers, including the young Charles Darwin. Darwin made frequent reference to Humboldt's work in his own, "Voyage of the Beagle", and his sister remarked that, by much reading of Humboldt,  he had "... got his phraseology and the kind of flowery French expressions he uses."

    Darwin sent a copy of his Journal of Researches to Humboldt, who answered, "You told me in your kind letter that, when you were young, the manner in which I studied and depicted nature in the torrid zones contributed toward exciting in you the ardour and desire to travel in distant lands. Considering the importance of your work, Sir, this may be the greatest success that my humble work could bring." Darwin called Humboldt's "Personal Narrative" one of the two most influential books on his own work, alongside Lyell's Principles of Geology.

          & Borland, observations

Observations and collections in South America (1799 - 1804) aided by scientific instruments. His co-worker Aimé Bonpland is in the background.

Text material © 2020 by Steven M. Carr