1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kuhn, Franz Felix Adalbert

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KUHN, FRANZ FELIX ADALBERT (1812-1881), German philologist and folklorist, was born at Konigsberg in Neumark on the 19th of November 1812. From 1841 he was connected with the Kollnisches Gymnasium at Berlin, of which he was appointed director in 1870. He died at Berlin on the 5th of May 1881. Kuhn was the founder of a new school of comparative mythology, based upon comparative philology. Inspired by Grimm's Deutsche Mythologie, he first devoted himself to German stories and legends, and published M drkische Sagen und Mdrchen (1842), N orddeutsche Sagen, M drchen und Gebrduche (1848), and Sagen, Gebrauche und Mdrchen ous Westfalen (1859). But it is on his researches into the language and history of the Indo-Germanic peoples as a whole that his reputation is founded. His chief works in this Connexion are: Zur dltesten Geschichte der Indogerinanischen Volker (1845), in which he endeavoured to give an account of the earliest civilization of the Indo-Germanic peoples before their separation into different families, by comparing and analysing the original meaning of the words and stems common to the different languages; Die Herabkunft des Fcuers und des Gbtterlranks (1859; new ed. by E. Kuhn, under title of Mythologische Studien, 1886); and Uber Entwicklungsstufen der Mythenbildung (1873), in which he maintained that the origin of myths was to be looked for in the domain of language, and that their most essential factors were polyonymy and homonymy. The Zeitschrift fur vergleichende Sprachforschung auf dem Gebiete der I ndogerrnanischen Sprachen, with which he was intimately connected, is the standard periodical on the subject.

See obituary notice by C. Bruchmann in Bursian's Biographisches Jahrbuch (1881) and ]. Schmidt in the above Zeitschrift, xxvi. n.s. 6.