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Nature Translated

Alexander von Humboldt's Works in Nineteenth-Century Britain

Alison E. Martin

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The first extensive analysis of the translation, publication and critical reception of Alexander von Humboldt’s writings in nineteenth-century Britain

Alexander von Humboldt was one of the most important scientists of the nineteenth century. Captivating his readers with his vibrant, lyrical prose, he transformed understandings of the earth and space by rethinking nature as the interconnection of global forces. This book argues that style was key to the success of these translations and shows how Humboldt’s British translators, now largely forgotten figures, were pivotal in moulding his prose and his public persona as they reconfigured his works for readers in Britain and beyond.

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List of Abbreviations
List of Illustrations
1. Styling Science
2. Dispute and Dissociation: John Black’s Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain (1811)
3. ‘A Colossal Literary and Scientific Task’: Helen Maria Williams and the Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent (1814-29)
4. ‘A Plain and Unassuming Style’: Thomasina Ross and Humboldt’s Travels (1852-3)
5. The Poetry of Geography: The Ansichten der Natur in English Translation
6. Cosmos: The Universe Translated

About the Author

Alison E. Martin is Professor of British Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (Germersheim). She is the author of 'Moving Scenes: The Aesthetics of German Travel Writing on England, 1783-1830' in Studies in Comparative Literature Vol 13.

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