n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Humboldt in Afrika : Ein Artikel aus dem Jahr 1850

Volume 46 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273


Humboldt in Africa

In 1850 the Pietermaritzburg newspaper The Natal Witness published an article by Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) – the only known text that appeared in Africa during the lifetime of the German naturalist. It is an excerpt from the essay on “The Nocturnal Life of Animals in the Primeval Forest” in Humboldt’s Aspects of Nature (1849), in English translation. Here, Humboldt describes the symphony of animal voices in the darkness of the South American rain-forest, which, in exchange with the local indigenous, he interprets as a struggle. The present paper documents and contextualises this article. It is part of the editorial and research project Alexander von Humboldt: Complete Writings (Papers, Articles, Essays) at the University of Berne in Switzerland.

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