Alexander von Humboldt's Kosmos: indexing it

Lubrich, Oliver; Ette, Ottmar
April 2006
Indexer;Apr2006, Vol. 25 Issue 1, p2
Academic Journal
September 2004 saw the publication, as part of the Humboldt Protect, of the first complete editions in German of the Vues des Cordillères et Monumens des Peuples Indigènes de l'Amerique (1810-13) and the original version of Kosmos (1845-62). The index to Kosmos was prepared after Humboldt's death by Eduard Buschmann, and therefore (and because of its length -- its 1,145 pages making it perhaps the longest index in literary history) is available only on the Web. But the published works shed important light on Alexander von Humboldt's understanding of the role of an index. This paper seeks to develop what one might call the poetics and aesthetics of the index as perceived by him, and in so doing fully justifies Buschmann's description of Humboldt's index entries as 'little works of art'.


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