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Ecology on the Ground and in the Clouds


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Table of Contents


Part I: Setting Out

1. Close Encounter at a Paris Boarding House

2. A Walk across Spain and a Climb Up a Volcano

Part II: The Voyage

3. Aerial Views, Nocturnal Birds, and Wild Indians

4. The Eel Ponds of the Llanos

5. Riverworlds

6. The Mountain

7. The Changing of the Gods

Part III: The Return

8. Coming Home

9. Tales of Three Cities

10. Botany on Demand

11. Taking Leave

Part IV: Worlds Apart

12. A Lost Friend

13. Warlords and Kings

14. Cosmos and Microcosm

15. A Last Exchange of Gifts

16. Scattered Remains

Afterthoughts: A Bonplandian Ethos

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About the Author

Andrea Nye is Professor Emerita of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She is the author of many books, including Socrates and Diotima: Sexuality, Religion, and the Nature of Divinity.


"Well-researched and deeply nuanced, this book presents a wealth of substantive material on the relationship between Aimé Bonpland and Alexander von Humboldt. Nye offers a fresh alternative to works that understate Bonpland's role, restoring his life and work to the foreground. The book's binding theme—the contrast between Bonpland's pragmatic proto-environmentalism and Humboldt's 'cosmic' idealism—richly deserves our attention. At times stirring and poignant, Nye's account is relevant for those seeking to understand the deep roots of sustainability thinking." —Curt Meine, author of Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work

"Andrea Nye significantly augments and balances biographical scholarship on Alexander von Humboldt. By properly crediting Humboldt's travel companion and coauthor Aimé Bonpland, Nye's book corrects and enriches the often singular recognition of Humboldt. Moreover, Ecology on the Ground and in the Clouds successfully compares the two men's respective styles of research to refine our thinking about the very nature of environmentalism." — Nicolaas A. Rupke, author of Alexander von Humboldt: A Metabiography

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