Ciência e literatura na obra de Alexander von Humboldt

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Alexander von Humboldt’s travel journals written during his travels across South and Central America (from 1799-1804) accompanied him throughout his life and were the source for his travel book Voyage aux régions équinoxiales du Nouveau Continent (1805-1838) as well as for his late work Kosmos. A Sketch of a Physical Description of the Universe (1845-1862). The numerous scientific annotations and political reflections in Humboldt’s travel journals are quite peculiar, for they allow the interference of emotion and spontaneity and so offer a very lively image of this geographer and polymath. Humboldt emphasizes in various ways the importance of using a poetic language when describing natural phenomena, because poetry and science aren’t antagonists but rather complementary. And he depicts the poetic use of language as fundamental for the refinement of taste, also stressing the influence it exercises on sensitive minds. He is not either condescending, nor arrogant towards the use of a poetic style in the depiction of the details nature offers us. The travel journals unravel Humboldt’s understanding of nature and humankind and also go deep into a range of themes such as colonial oppression and slavery which Humboldt defines as global problems.
Original languagePortuguese
Title of host publicationLiteratura e ciência
Subtitle of host publicationdiálogos multidisciplinares II
EditorsIsabel Barros Dias, Gabriela Gândara Terenas, Margarida Esperança Pina, Margarida Santos Alpalhão, Maria de Fátima Nunes, Maria do Rosário Lupi Bello, Teresa Nobre de Carvalho
PublisherUniversidade Aberta
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9789726748953
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Nature
  • Poetry
  • Science
  • Languages
  • Slavery

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