Page images
PDF
EPUB

the language is found in its most familiar and idiomatic form, and most easily makes itself felt as a natural and living medium for the communication of thought and feeling. The student who has carefully worked through one modern play, so as to be able to read it aloud in the original, with expression and appreciation, has greatly lightened his labour in the subsequent study of classical works, and has at the same time made the best possible preparation for the practical use of the language in speaking or writing.

It is on these grounds that a modern playhas been chosen for a new volume of the Pitt Press Series, and that this play has been made the subject of more detailed editorial care, and is recommended to a closer and more careful study, than are usually accorded to similar productions of modern literature. Setting aside a few quaint or not very refined expressions, to suit the characters, and a few of those negligences of style from which not many even of the best writers and speakers are wholly free, Zopf und Schwert is probably as good a model of current conversational German as could be found in union with an equal degree of dramatic merit.

In drawing up the notes, my chief aim has been, not to help the cursory reader or the candidate for an examination, by a smooth English rendering, overor round-the difficulty of particular passages, but rather to put the student in a position to work out for himself, and understand in the original, apart from

1 Reprinted with the kind permission of the publisher, Herr Hermann Costenoble, of Jena.

any English rendering, both the passage before him and any similar passage he may afterwards meet; and further, to lead him to gather from an observant study of the play as large a store as possible of the knowledge from which he must draw in writing and speaking German. I have therefore taken considerable pains in the collection and classification of parallel passages, with numerous references to and fro, which help to make the play self-illustrative ; and have added an index at the end of the book. Every facility is thus afforded to the student for that process of comparative analysis which, as inducing and controlling the formation of general ideas and associations, is the only way to the exact knowledge of a language.

The training of the student to the familiar appreciation of that large element in German, as in every other language, which can be made fully clear only by the aid of the living voice, must of course be chiefly the work of practical exercise under the guidance of a teacher. Experience, however, leads me to think that in the systematic acquisition of a foreign language, theoretical help in this direction may be of substantial value. I have therefore endeavoured (e.g. in the notes on the particles) to render as much assistance of this kind as considerations of space would allow.

This little work is, in short, an attempt to apply to a modern language, to some extent at least, and with suitable modifications, principles which have long been recognised in the study of Greek and Latin. That the modern languages, and among them German in the first place, are capable of being made a very efficient medium of “classical” training, in any sense in which this is of real general value, will hardly be any longer doubted, when but a tithe of the time and labour so freely expended on the ancient languages has been given to the elaboration of adequate apparatus for the thorough study of the modern. An early attempt like the present must necessarily be very imperfect.

Notes rendered necessary by the lack of other available help, such as is at the command of every learner of Greek and Latin, occupy so much space, that those addressed to the more careful student are liable to suffer from obscurity or incompleteness, because they must necessarily be brief. Any hints or criticisms from persons engaged in the study or teaching of modern languages will be gratefully welcomed.

My warm thanks are due to several friends in Germany for substantial assistance in the notes, and to the Rev. J. W. Cartmell, Fellow and Tutor of Christ's College, for valuable critical aid in revising the MS. for the press.

H. J. W.

CAMBRIDGE,

November, 1880.

INTRODUCTION.

KARL FERDINAND GUTZKOW1 was born in Berlin, March 17,

1811. Though his parents were people in Life of Gutzkow.

humble circumstances, he received a good education, first at one of the Gymnasien, or grammarschools, and afterwards at the university, of his native town. Under Hegel and Schleiermacher he studied philosophy and theology with some distinction; but his natural tastes early inclined him to the life of a literary man and publicist. The Paris Revolution of July, 1830, produced a deep impression upon him, and decided his course. Expecting a serious movement in Germany for the establishment of political freedom, and believing it to be the duty of every German to prepare himself for taking some part in it, he went to Heidelberg and Munich to study jurisprudence and Staatswissenschaft, or the theory of government. Previously to this he had already begun in Stuttgart his career as a journalist, under Wolfgang Menzel, the editor of Cotta's Literaturblatt, who was at that time a sort of literary dictator in Germany. He now travelled in Austria and North Italy, and henceforth led a somewhat chequered life of restless literary activity.

1 Pronounced Gützko. The w is silent in German proper names in ow, Rochow, Virchow, &c. Most of them are probably of Slavonic origin.

He was the ablest of a group of young writers, who gave

expression to the dissatisfaction which many Young Germany.

felt, with the existing political and social institutions, and to the ideas and tendencies, in some respects misguided and even pernicious, which the events of 1830 had served to stimulate among the younger generation in Germany. Their writings, and especially some of Gutzkow's early essays in fiction, crude and audacious, but showing signs of power, were pursued by Wolfgang Menzel with the persistent denunciations of a jealous rival. This at length led to the prohibition by an arbitrary decree of the Bundestag, and by edicts from the various German governments, of all the writings of so-called “Young Germany." Gutzkow was sentenced in Baden to a brief imprisonment. Neither intimidated nor embittered by this treatment, he continued steadily, though with more of the temperance of experience, and a considerable modification of some of his views, on his course as a public critic and a political and social reformer. He may be regarded as the chief among the founders of modern journalism in Germany.

In spite of the difficulties occasioned by the high-handed censorship of the press, Gutzkow continued to publish a number of influential works, and edited, 1837—42, the Telegraph für Deutschland, removing from Frankfort to Hamburg, where he could venture to act somewhat more freely than was possible in the immediate vicinity of the German Diet. His success in dramatic composition, which he here began to cultivate, induced him to relinquish journalism, and devote himself for a time wholly to the theatre. The change was however rather in the form than in the primary aims of his literary activity. After a visit of some length to Paris, he lived again in Frankfort until 1847, when he was appointed “Dramaturg," or critic and instructor in the dramatic art, in connection with the courttheatre of Dresden. After having held this post for but a brief period, he passed some of the best years of his life still in Dresden, where he wrote his two most considerable novels. But he was not spared the difficulties and cares proverbially associated with the pursuit of literature as a profession. In

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »