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Cosmos: A Sketch of a Physical Description of The Universe: Introduction

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By: (1769-1859)

Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt was a Prussian geographer, naturalist, explorer, and influential proponent of romantic philosophy. Many consider him to be the last of the great polymaths. After his death in 1859, the scientific world began to divide into separate disciplines, each with its own knowledgeable but narrowly defined experts. Humboldt’s mind encompassed all that was then known of nature in one great whole. He could well be considered the father of modern ecology and earth studies. His great scientific and literary achievement was the multi-volume Cosmos, twenty years in the writing, in which he attempted to describe the known physical world. Humboldt’s lyrical style of writing influenced the subsequent genre of nature writing as well as many of the towering figures of the Romantic movement. This recording is of the Introduction to Cosmos. The Introduction gives a good measure of breadth of Humboldt’s mind and is a pleasure to read or hear because of its literary felicity. This reading omits the copious footnotes in favor of maintaining the flow of thought of the body of the text. Also included are the translator’s preface which contains a short biography of Humboldt as well as the author’s own preface. - Summary by Wikipedia and david wales

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