A fantastic idea

“I have hit on the fantastic idea of portraying the entire world – everything we know today about the heavens and the earth, from nebulae to the geography of mosses and granites – and all this in a work that is written in a lively, stimulating style and will delight the mind. Every great and important idea of which we have some glimmer must be included here along with the known facts. It must reflect a whole epoch of human intellectual development – in its knowledge of nature – in its full scope.”

Alexander von Humboldt, quoted in Stephan Oetterman’s compellingly erudite The Panorama: History of a Mass Medium, p. 38.

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