The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Müller, Friedrich Max
|←Müller, Friedrich (philologist)||The American Cyclopædia
Müller, Friedrich Max
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MÜLLER, Friedrich Max, an English philologist, son of the poet Wilhelm Müller, born in Dessau, Germany, Dec. 6, 1823. He commenced his philological studies in Leipsic, where he took his degree in 1843. Induced by Hermann Brockhaus to give special attention to Sanskrit, he published in the following year his first work a translation of the Hitopadeça, collection of Hindoo fables. After attending the lectures of Bopp and Schelling in Berlin, and examining the collection of Sanskrit manuscripts then purchased by the government, he went to Paris, where he prepared himself, at Burnouf's suggestion, to undertake the editing of the Rig Veda with the Sayana commentary. For the purpose of comparing the manuscripts of the Louvre with those in the possession of the East India company and those contained in the Bodleian library, he went in 1846 to England, where Bunsen and Wilson induced him to remain, and the East India company assumed the expense of the publication of his edition of the Rig Veda. The first volume of this stupendous work appeared in 1849, and the sixth and last at the end of 1874. Each volume consists of more than 1,200 pages. This edition has a special value from the masterly introductions prefixed to the volumes, which form important additions to the science of Indian antiquities and linguistics. The first volume of a second edition of the Rig Veda, without the Indian commentary, was published at Leipsic in 1856. He has published in German an excellent translation of Kalidasa's Meghadûta (Königsberg, 1847), a charming novel entitled Deutsche Liebe (Leipsic, 1857; English translation, Chicago, 1875), and several articles in philological journals; but most of his publications are in English. After a series of essays on the modern dialects of India, which appeared in the “Transactions of the British Association” and literary journals in England, he issued in 1854, on the occasion of the Crimean war, a treatise entitled “Suggestions on learning the Languages of the Seat of the War in the East.” After the publication of “Proposals for a Missionary Alphabet” appeared his “History of ancient Sanskrit Literature” (1859), which has passed through several editions. The greatest success, however, has attended his “Lectures on the Science of Language,” delivered at the royal institution of Great Britain in 1861 and 1863 (2 vols., London, 1861-'4), in which he shows in a popular style the bearing of the science of language on some important problems of philosophy and religion. His “Handbooks for the Study of Sanskrit,” of which the first volume was published in 1865, are held in high esteem. They comprise a Sanskrit grammar and dictionary, and an edition of the text of the Hitopadeça with a Latin transcription, an interlinear translation and grammatical notes. In the years 1867-'70 appeared several volumes of his essays first published in periodicals, under the title of “Chips from a German Workshop,” on subjects pertaining to the science of religion, mythology, and the history of literature. In 1870 he delivered a course of lectures introductory to the science of religion, which produced considerable discussion in Europe and America. When they were published he added two essays on “False Analogy” and “The Philosophy of Mythology.” He lectured in 1872 before the newly inaugurated university in Strasburg, and in 1873 in Westminster abbey, which led to remonstrances on the part of the orthodox clergy. Having settled in 1848 in Oxford, where his edition of the Rig Veda, was to be printed, he was invited by the university to give courses of lectures on comparative philology as deputy Taylorian professor. Though once defeated as candidate for a professorship of Sanskrit, a new professorship of comparative philology was founded in 1868, with his name in the statute as the first incumbent. He has been since 1865 director of the oriental department of the Bodleian library, and in 1874 he presided over the Aryan section of the first international oriental congress.