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Peak PursuitsThe Emergence of Mountaineering in the Nineteenth Century$
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Caroline Schaumann

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300231946

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300231946.001.0001

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James David Forbes and Louis Agassiz

Chapter 5 Icecapades
Peak Pursuits

Caroline Schaumann

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on James David Forbes and Louis Agassiz, two glaciologists that fueled a passion for ice and snow that prominently figured in the public imagination. It looks into Agassiz's “Études sur les glaciers” and its accompanying atlas of thirty-two plates that stirred sublime awe and scientific curiosity. It also talks about how Forbes, in contrast to Agassiz, fashioned his “Travels Through the Alps of Savoy” in a format and style after Horace-Bénédict de Saussure's publication as a reference for both scientists and mountaineers. The chapter emphasizes how Forbes and Louis Agassiz's works divulge their infatuation with glaciers as a highly dynamic, volatile, and agentic environment. It also discloses Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz who assumed Agassiz's legacy after his death in December 1873 by publishing “Louis Agassiz: His Life and Correspondence.”

Keywords:   public imagination, scientific curiosity, scientists, mountaineers, James David Forbes, Louis Agassiz

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