Adelbert von Chamisso und die Südsee

  • Heinz Schütte (Autor/in)

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The essay deals with Adelbert von Chamisso's (1781-1838) Reise um die Welt of 1835, which has been neglected by historical research and which describes a world increasingly united by trade. From 1815 to 1818, the poet and botanist had participated in the Russian Pacific and Arctic expedition under Otto von Kotzebue as a titular scientist. In the steps of his creation Peter Schlemihl
(1813) who had lost his shadow, Chamisso ventured to search for his own identity, to retrieve his shadow, in science and in foreign lands. A border crosser between France and Germany ever since earliest youth, he became a 'threshold'
personality between the world of the ancien régime and modernity of the late 19th century. In the tradition of the Enlightenment, he wrote an unusually rich text in which he proved to be an empiricist, in that "each fragment of human history" is important to him as a component of humanity's general history.