This article explores the role that the discourse on natural catastrophes, in particular on the figure of the earthquake, in the cartography of contingent worlds at the turn of the century. From Humboldt’s fascination with the natural disruption of his beloved chain of being to Simón Bolívar’s rhetoric concerning the 1812 earthquake of Caracas in his Cartagena Manifesto, this article traces how, in the nineteenth century, nature and politics came to be discursively interlinked in such a way that natural catastrophes, understood as political events, became figures of the opening of the world to unforeseen possibilities. The article traces the historical and rhetorical confluence of Humboldt and Bolívar and their place in the reconfiguration of the relation between historiography and nature through the discourse on the sublime and the philosophy of the late Enlightenment.


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pp. 163-181
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