Nicolaas A. Rupke
A Metabiography of Alexander von Humboldt
The author's recently published monograph on Alexander von Humboldt describes the multiple images of this great cultural icon. The book is a metabiographical study that shows how from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present day Humboldt has served as a nucleus of crystallisation for a variety of successive socio-political ideologies, each producing its own distinctive representation of him. The historiographical implications of this biographical diversity are profound and support current attempts to understand historical scholarship in terms of memory cultures.
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Concerning the author
Rupke, Nicolaas A.
Prof. Dr., is Director, Institute for the History of Science, Georg-August University Göttingen, Germany. Educated at Groningen (BSc, 1968) and Princeton (PhD, 1972) Universities, he held research fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution, Oxford University, Tübingen University, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies, the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, the National Humanities Center, and the Institute of Advanced Studies in Canberra. He is the author of several scientific biographies, including a study of the Oxford geologist William Buckland, The Great Chain of History (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983) and of the London biologist Richard Owen (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1994). He currently works on "Eminent lives in twentieth-century science-and-religion."
 Nicolaas A. Rupke, Alexander von Humboldt: a Metabiography. Frankfurt am Main [etc.]: Lang, 2005.