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It is a source of lively satisfaction to me to have been chosen as the medium of introducing to the English public the late lamented author of the following Lectures and Essays, one of the most original thinkers Germany has produced in recent times, and the “greatest of her philologers," as he has been styled by a competent judge. His work itself, however, will best speak for him, and needs no commendation on my part. Let me only add that, though these Lectures and Essays, now submitted to the English reader, are but “chips” from the author's “workshop," as it were, yet I believe they afford a good glimpse of his eminent powers and brilliant genius as an investigator. But a word, I feel, is needed on behalf of myself as translator. No one can be more fully alive than myself to the difficulties of translation, and hence it is not with a “light heart” that I ever undertake the task. If I have ventured to do so on this occasion, it was owing to my belief in the adage: Amor vincit omnia. Love of the language into which I had to translate, happened to combine, in this instance, with love of the subject and admiration of the author. From his exceedingly clear, aye, pellucid style, my difficulties have certainly been considerably lessened; still, a conscientious translation is always an arduous task, and I can only hope, conscious of having honestly striven to do justice to the original, I may have succeeded in likewise satisfying the English reader.
In editing the following Lectures and Dissertations of my late brother, I have to crave the indulgence of the public for having ventured, as a non-scientific man, to undertake such a task. But I deem it my duty not to withhold from the world any of the author's investigations, and now put forth, as a first instalment, the present pages, which the departed was about himself to revise for the purpose of publication when death overtook him. The first five Dissertations are a literal reprint of the Lectures as they were delivered, and partly already published; only in the second I have added from the MS. a passage in brackets which had been omitted in delivery so as not to exceed the measure of time allotted to each speaker. The last Essay, written in 1869–70, was intended for a scientific periodical, and was to open a series of similar dissertations. The unremitting endeavour which ever distinguished the author to improve and perfect his labours prevented him from sending the Essay to its destination, as he was not spared to give it a final touch.