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ZOPF UND SCHWERT.
LUSTSPIEL IN FÜNF AUFZÜGEN
BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION,
ENGLISH NOTES, AND AN INDEX,
H. J. WOLSTENHOLME, B.A. (LOND.)
AND NEWNHAM COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.
EDITED FOR THE SYNDICS OF THE UNIVE
London : CAMBRIDGE WAREHOUSE, 17, PATERNOSTER Row.
Cambridge: DEIGHTON, BELL, AND CO.
[All Rights reserved.]
It is a not uncommon practice among teachers of German to put classical works, including even the poetical drama, into the hands of their pupils at a very early stage. Whatever may be said for this practice on the ground of its tending to promote literary culture, it is still open to considerable objection. For those who are already exercised in the study of language, and to whom a modicum of discursive acquaintance with modern literature is only a pleasant addition to a classical education, such a procedure may be suitable enough. But in any real and systematic study of German, the less advanced stages-after the very earliest-must be chiefly occupied with that close analytical treatment of the language, in its word-composition and construction, its synonyms and idioms, which must precede any really appreciative study of the literature, and is indispensable to any mastery of the language for practical purposes. For this mode of treatment the works of modern authors are best adapted, and perhaps no species of composition offers greater advantages than the modern prose drama. In this 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 play' has 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