Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Alexander von Humboldt
The octavo volume Fragmente contains the notes that
Humboldt took during his trip to Russia. As in the case of the American
travel journals, today’s leather binding does not correspond to its original
form. During the trip, Humboldt wrote in two separate notebooks, which were
only later merged into one volume. In the 20th century, a continuous
foliation was added in pencil by an unknown hand (cf. Honigmann 2014, 72).
The Fragmente volume only partially describes the
course of the journey in the sense of a travel journal. Often the sketchy
notes are used to log location-related measurement data and associated
calculations. Numerous excerpts supplement Humboldt’s notations with
comparative data of third parties – among others, Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel,
Georg Adolf Erman, Christopher Hansteen, and Adolf Theodor Kupffer. Other
notes concern economic data, population statistics, geological and landscape
descriptions, mineral deposits, weather data, travel impressions, or remarks
on linguistic peculiarities. For biographical research, lists of personal
names distributed over both notebooks are particularly important.
Humboldt has demonstrably used the fragments in the writing of his later
publications, especially the Asie centrale.
Edited by Tobias Kraft and Florian Schnee (Editing period:
2017–2022)To the edited text