The ‘Kosmos’ of Alexan. von Humboldt.


  Amidst the fuss of political and theological reformation, which leaves Germany no peace in these days, a gleam of pure and noble joy, a gush of deeper emotion have greeted the appearance of the first volume of Von Humboldt’s Kosmos. It is the first volume of the physical history of the world, the task to which his whole life, with its grand and ceaseless efforts and vast accomplishments, has been tending. What he has uttered on the subject in fragmentary ways from time to time has been treasured up by his country and the civilized world, so that a large class of minds are prepared to welcome with ardent delight the sum of his researches which will be harmoniously exhibited in this work. It will be published at great expense, and form, in all senses, a regal bequest to his country. We say a bequest, for Von Humboldt is more than seventy years of age, and the utmost we can hope is that he may be permitted to superintend the publication throughout. He will then have reached the apex of a life-long ascent.

  The Cologne Gazette quotes the words of Goethe about Humboldt. “What a man! Long as I have known him, every time we meet he astonishes me anew. In variety of information and living knowledge he is without a peer, nor have I seen in any mind a many-sidedness that can be compared with his. Turn which way you will, he is everywhere at home and able to overwhelm you with intellectual treasures. He is like a fountain with many pipes, you need only vases fit to hold beneath them, and streams of refreshment are ever ready to flow.”

  This first volume contains “Introductory contemplations as to the various ways of enjoying nature and inquiring into her laws—limitation and scientific conduct of the physical history of the world—a general Nature-Picture by way of survey of the phenomena to be examined in the Kosmos.” This volume gives an idea of the way in which he harmonizes the particular with the general, and of the method and form that will be observed throughout the work.*

“The ‘Kosmos’ of Alexan. Von Humboldt.” New-York Daily Tribune, 11 July 1845, p. 1.