Andrea Wulf, author, “The Invention of Nature”

May 10, 2019

Friday, May 10th, Stetson Lecture Andrea Wulf, author, “Founding Gardeners” and other books–note day of week.

‘The Invention of Nature. Alexander von Humboldt’s New World’

The Invention of Nature tells the story of Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), the great thinker and intrepid explorer who has more things named after him than anyone else – from the Humboldt current to towns, rivers, mountain ranges and a penguin. Though almost forgotten today, Humboldt was the most famous scientist of his age.

His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether exploring deep into the rainforest or climbing the world’s highest volcanoes. He saw nature as a web of life and amazingly predicted harmful human–induced climate change already in 1800. He turned scientific observation into poetic narrative, and his writings inspired naturalists and poets such as Darwin and Goethe but also politicians such as Jefferson. It was Humboldt’s influence that led John Muir to his ideas of preservation and that shaped Thoreau’s ‘Walden’. Wulf traces Humboldt’s influences through the great minds he inspired in revolution, evolution, ecology, conservation, art and literature. ‘The Invention of Nature’ brings this lost hero to science and the forgotten father of environmentalism back to life.

Here is a 4-min film about “The Invention of Nature”:

The latest reviews and interviews are here:
For the Founding Fathers, gardening, agriculture, and botany were elemental passions: a conjoined interest as deeply ingrained in their characters as the battle for liberty and a belief in the greatness of their new nation.

Founding Gardeners is an exploration of that obsession, telling the story of the revolutionary generation from the unique perspective of their lives as gardeners, plant hobbyists, and farmers. Acclaimed historian Andrea Wulf describes how George Washington wrote letters to his estate manager even as British warships gathered off Staten Island; how a tour of English gardens renewed Thomas Jefferson’s and John Adams’s faith in their fledgling nation; and why James Madison is the forgotten father of environmentalism. Wulf reveals a fresh, nuanced portrait of the men who created our nation.