Dimore Eterne by Alberto Siliotti

By Alberto Siliotti

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Americans were pleased to think he was claiming fellow citizenship in their republic, an interpretation made all the easier by their success in appropriating the term “America,” which covered two continents, for their own nation. S. Americans, starting with President Jefferson. S. S. Americans marched in his funeral procession. By then much of their country had been named for Humboldt—towns, counties, rivers, lakes, parks, marshes, caves, forests, eventually a university, and very nearly the entire state of Nevada.

George Forster was the first to depict in pleasing colors the changing stages of vegetation, the relations of climate and of articles of food in their influence on the civilization of mankind. . ”21 Forster had nurtured the romance of the South Sea Islands first ignited by Bougainville’s accounts and rendered by Diderot’s commentary on them into an ideological battle over the nature of humanity. Diderot challenged Captain Bougainville’s right to claim Tahiti for France, causing the destruction of a free people with their own cultural achievements, whose social felicity and sexual freedom gave the lie to European hierarchy and oppression.

More important to him, though, were the professor’s family connections: it was at Heyne’s home where Humboldt met Heyne’s famous son-in-law, Georg Forster. This relatively brief friendship would be one of the most important of Humboldt’s life. confluences 27 It was almost as though Humboldt had met his older self. As a biographer notes, Forster was virtually a “prototype” of the mature Humboldt, who gave his vague childhood dreams force, direction, and a model. Forster was celebrated for having circumnavigated the globe on Cook’s second voyage, from 1772 to 1775, with his father Reinhold; they were the first Germans involved in voyages of exploration, which Prussia was far too small and poor to mount.

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