The New International Encyclopædia/Müller, Friedrich Max

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The New International Encyclopædia
Müller, Friedrich Max
Edition of 1905. See also Friedrich Max Müller on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

MÜLLER, Friedrich Max (commonly called Max) (1823-1900). One of the best known of recent Orientalists and philologists. He was born at Dessau, in the Duchy of Anhalt-Dessau, December 6, 1823, where his father, the poet Wilhelm Müller (q.v.), was librarian of the ducal library. Max Müller received the elements of his education at Dessau, and then went to Leipzig, where, under Hermann Brockhaus, he began the study of Sanskrit. This he soon chose as his special pursuit, and at the age of twenty he was ready for the degree of doctor of philosophy. The first fruits of his labors appeared in a translation of the Hitōpadēsa (1844). In 1844 he went to Berlin to study under Bopp and Schelling, and to consult the Sanskrit manuscripts there. In Paris, whither he went in 1845, he began, at the suggestion of Burnouf, to prepare an edition of the Rig-Veda, with the commentary of Sāyana (q.v.). With this view he went to England, June, 1846, to examine the manuscripts in the East India House, London, and the Bodleian Library at Oxford, and, on the recommendation of the distinguished Sanskritist H. H. Wilson, the East India Company commissioned him (1847) to edit the Rig-Veda at their expense. The first volume of this great undertaking appeared in 1849, and the sixth and concluding volume was published in 1874. A second edition was issued in 1889-92. In 1850 Max Müller was appointed deputy Taylorian professor of modern languages at Oxford; in 1854 he succeeded to the professorship, and in 1858 he was elected a fellow of All Souls' College. While pursuing his labors connected with the Rig-Veda he published treatises on a variety of philological topics which did more to awaken in England a taste for the science of language in its modern sense than the labors of any other single scholar. Inheriting the poetic imagination and fire of his father, he had at command such a felicity of illustration that subjects dry under ordinary treatment became in his hands attractive. The lectures which he delivered on the Hibbert Foundation on the Origin and Growth of Religion (1878), and the Gifford series on Natural Religion, Physical Religion, Anthropological Religion, and Theosophy or Psychological Religion (1890-92), attracted much attention. He continued to publish on literary, linguistic, and philosophical subjects up to the time of his death, which occurred at Oxford. October 28, 1900. Among his long list of works, mention may be made of a translation into German of Kalidasa's Meghaduta* (1847); The Language of the Seat of War in the East (2d ed. 1855); Comparative Mythology (in the “Oxford Essays” for 1856); History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature (2d ed. 1860); lectures on The Science of Language (1861; last ed. 1889); The Science of Religion (1870), Chips from a German Workshop, in four volumes, was published 1868-75; the Hibbert Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion, in 1878; Selected Essays, in 1881; Six Systems of Indian Philosophy (1899); Auld Lang Syne (1st and 2d series, 1899); and Ramakrishna, his Life and Sayings (1899). His translation of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, with a scholarly introduction, appeared in two volumes (1881). He wrote a romance, Deutsche Liebe (12th ed. 1901). He was editor of the important series The Sacred Books of the East; was one of the eight foreign members of the Institute of France, a Knight of the Prussian Order, a member of the Privy Council of the Queen of England, besides being the recipient of many honorary degrees. After his death appeared his Last Essays (1901) and My Autobiography (1901), edited by his son. Consult Life and Letters of the Right Honorable Friedrich Max Müller, edited by his wife (London, 1903).