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Humboldt, Alexander von.
[The Importance of His Work]   [About the Author]   [Sequence of Volumes]
$16,240.00

Voyages aux Regions Equinoxiales du Nouveau Continent. 30 vols. + additional set of 9 vols.
bound in 5. *Paris 1805-34.  (Reprint 1971-3)

* English translation: Personal narrative of the Travels to the Equinoxial Regions of the New Continent, 1799-1804 and Researches concerning the Institutions and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of America. Edited and translated by Helen M. Williams. Reprint of the edition London 1814-1829. 9 volumes bound in 5.

Of the 30 volumes, 20 are in-folio and 10 in-4to, bound in cloth. The additional set of 9 vols (8vo) is a complete reprint of the first English edition of the work. Altogether 10200 pages of the text and 1470 plates of which 1240 in full colour.
Edition limited to 200 copies.

Humboldt spent the 25 years following his return from America in the preparation and publication of this immense 30 volume work with the collaboration of several famous scholars and artists. The result is known to be the greatest single monument of the exploration of the American Continent.

About the Importance of His Work                                                                                          

South America had been the object of predatory incursions by Spaniards, pirates, Dutch merchants and others who had a thirst for gold, but never had this continent been able to excite the curiosity of the scientific traveller.

Buffon had called Latin America 'an unripe continent' and he spoke of it as being second-rate. De Pauw had called its inhabitants subhuman, feebleminded and of bestial disposition. The English philosopher Hume held the tropics in low esteem, and especially South America; Voltaire shared his low opinion.

Alexander von Humboldt led the continent of South America not only toward its unveiling, but also toward its rehabilitation.

The results of Humboldt's voyage are the richest (from a scientific point of view) which have ever been yielded by any voyage of exploration. It was this voyage which set the standard for every subsequent scientific expedition. It has never been duplicated or superseded, so that the volumes of Voyage aux Régions Equinoxiales du Nouveau Continent still contain the standard information available at the present time concerning the flora, fauna, marine biology and geography of South America.

Where Humboldt's powers of description failed him, his accurate drawings filled the gap; and since he himself was convinced of the importance of his work for his contemporaries as well as posterity, he gave of himself the utmost. Specimens were collected in duplicate or even triplicate to protect against loss and shipped via various routes to Europe; existing monuments of indigenous cultures were minutely explored and rendered in drawings; a dictionary was compiled of Indian languages.

About the Author                                                                                                                        

Alexander von Humboldt, born in 1769 in Berlin, the son of a noble Prussian family, received the best of private tutoring at the family residence. At the age of 18 he enrolled in the University of Frankfurt. There he became friendly with the famous botanist Wildenow. In 1789 he continued his studies at Georgia Augusta University at Göttingen where he received private tutoring from Lichtenberg on the phenomena of light, fire and electricity. Also he met the famous natural historian and author George Forster who had accompanied Captain Cook on his second voyage
round the world.

After the death of his mother in 1796, Humboldt planned a voyage around the world. He was invited to join the expedition which Napoleon was planning for Bougainville. During his stay in France, he met the botanist Aimé Bonpland, who had studied medicine in France. Hoping to join Napoleon in Egypte, the pair travelled to Marseilles, but various difficulties forced them to change thier plans, and they went instead to Spain, where Humboldt sought permission from the King to undertake a scientific expedition in the Spanish possessions in America. Permission was granted, and after extensive preparation, Humboldt and Bonpland set off from Corunna on June 5, 1799. Humboldt was to spend the next five years in America, not returning to Europe until August 3, 1804. And the twenty years following his return from America he spent in the preparation and publication of the greatest monument of the exploration of the Ameican continent.

 
The Sequence of Volumes as Originally Published
I-II
Plantes équinoxiales, recueillies au Mexique, dans l'île de Cuba, dans les provinces de Caracas, de Cumana et de Barcelone, aux Andes de la Nouvelle-Grenade, de Quito et
du Pérou, et sur les bords du Rio-Negro, de l'Orénoque et de la rivière des Amazones. (Paris, F. Schoell; Tubingue,
J.G. Cotta, 1808-1809). 2 volumes: VII, 234; 191 pp.
With portrait and 143 plates. In folio.
XVIII
Examen critique de l'histoire de la géographie du Nouveau Continent, et des progrès de l'astronomie nautique aux quinzième et seizième siècles par A. de Humboldt. Analyse de l'Atlas géographique et physique. (Paris, Gide, 1814-1834). VI, 562 pp., 1 plate. In folio.
III-IV
Monographie des Melastomacées, comprenant toutes les plantes de cet ordre recueillies jusqu'à ce jour, et notamment au Mexique, dans l'île de Cuba, dans les provinces de Caracas, de Cumana et de Barcelone, aux Andes de la Nouvelle-Grenade, de Quito et du Pérou, et sur les bords du Rio-Negro, de l'Orénoque et de la rivière des Amazones. Mise en odre par A. Bonpland. (Paris, Librairie grecque-latine-allemande; Gide fils, 1816-1823). 2 volumes: VI, 145; II, 158 pp. and 2 tables, with 120 plates in full-color. In folio.
XIX
Atlas géographique et physique du Royaume de la Nouvelle-Espagne, fondé sur les observations astronomiques, des mesures trigonométriques, et des nivellemens barométriques par A. de Humboldt. (Paris, Schoell, 1811). 4 pp., 21 maps of which 2 in full-color, 8 in black/white, 11 double-page maps of which 4 in full-color. In folio.
V
Mimoses et autres plantes légumineuses du Nouveau Continent, recueliiies par A. de Humboldt et Bonpland. Décrites et publiées par C. S. Kunth. (Paris, N. Maze, 1819). 223 pp. with 60 plates in full-color. In folio.
XX
Tableau physique des Andes et pays voisins. Dressé d'après des observations & des mesures prises sur les lieux-depuis le 10e. degré de latitude borèale jusqu'au 10e. de latitude australe en 1799-1803. (Géographie des plantes équinoxiales). One large folding plate, in full-color. In folio.
VI-VII
Révision des Graminées, publiées dans les Nova Genera et Species Plantarum, précédée d'un travail général sur la famille des Graminées, par C. S. Kunth, ouvrage accompagné de cent planches coloriées d'après les dessins de Madame Eulalie Delile. (Paris, Gide fils, 1829). 2 volumes: II, 392; 275 pp. With 219 plates in color. In folio.
XXI-XXII
Recueil d'observations astronomiques d'opérations trigonométriques et de mesures barométriques, faites pendant le cours d'un voyage aux régions équinoxiales du Nouveau Continent depuis 1799 jusqu'en 1803. Rédigées et calculées d'après les Tables les plus exactes, par J. Oltmanns. Ouvrage auquel on a joint des recherches historiques sur la position de plusieurs points importants pour les navigateurs et pour les géographes. (Paris, F. Schoell, 1810). 2 volumes: LXXVI, 594; 634 pp. With 2 plates. In quarto.
VIII-XIV
Nova Genera et Species plantarum, quas in peregrinatione orbis novi collegerunt, descripserunt, partim adumbraverunt A. Bonpland et A. de Humboldt. Ex schedis autographis Amati Bonplandi in ordinem digessit C. S. Kunth. Accedunt tabulae aeri incisae, et Alexandri de Humboldt notationes ad geographiam plantarum spectantes. (Paris, Librairie grecque-latine-allemande; N. Maze; Gide fils, 1815-1825). 7 volumes: XLVI, 302; 324; 356; 247; 338; 422; 399 pp. With 713 plates of which 711 in full-color. In folio.
XXIII-XXIV
Recueil d'observations de zoologie et d'anatomie comparée faites dans l'Océan Atlantique, dans l'intérieur du Nouveau Continent et dans la Mer du Sud, pendant les années 1799-1803. (Paris, F. Schoell, G. Dufour, J. Smith et Gide, 1811-1833). 2 volumes: IV, 368; 352 pp. With 55 plates, of which 37 in full-color. In quarto.
XV-XVI
Vues des Cordillères et monumens des peuples indigènes de l'Amèrique. (Paris, F. Schoell, 1810). First volume: XVI, 350 pp. Second volume (Planches): 69 plates of which 28 in full-color. 35 in black/white; 6 double-page maps, of which 3 in full-color. In folio.
XXV-XXVI
Essai Politique sur le royaume de la Nouvelle-Espagne. Avec un Atlas physique et géographique, fondé sur des observations astronomiques, des mesures trigonométriques et des nivellemens barométriques (see vol. XIX). (Paris, Schoell, 1811). 2 volumes: XCIV, IV, 356; 566 pp. In quarto.
XVII
Atlas géographique et physique des régions équinoxiales du Nouveau Continent fondé sur des observations astronomiques, des mesures trigonométriques et des nivellemens barométriques par A. de Humboldt. (Paris, F. Schoell, 1814). With 34 maps (and a supplement of 7 maps which were published at a later date), of which 5 in full-color, 12 in black/white; 24 double-page maps, of which 10 in full-color. In folio.
XXVII
Essai sur la géographie des plantes, accompagné d'un tableau 10e. degré de latitude australe, pendant les années physique des régions équinoxiales, fondé sur les mesures exécutées depuis le 10e. degré de latitude boréale jusqu'au 1799-1803. (Paris, F. Schoell, 1807). XII, 155 pp. With one large folding plate in full-color. In quarto.
 

 

XXVIII-XXX
Voyage aux régions équinoxiales du Nouveau Continent fait en 1799-1804, par A. de Humboldt et A. Bonpland, rédigé par A. de Humboldt. Avec deux atlas, qui renferment, l'un les » Vues des Cordillères et les monumens des peuples indigènes de l'Amerique «, (see vol. XVI) et l'autre des cartes géographiques et physiques (see vol. XVII). (Paris, F. Schoell, N. Maze, J. Smith, Gide fils, 1814-1825). 3 volumes: 643; 722; 632 pp. In quarto. (A fourth volume which was to complete the narrative was never published).