Preface to the First Edition:
THE lectures herewith presented to the narrow circle of my fellows in this field of study, and also, it is hoped, to the wider circle of those interested in researches into the history of literature generally, are a first attempt, and as such, naturally, defective and capable of being in many respects supplemented and improved. The material they deal with is too vast, and the means of mastering it in general too inaccessible, not to have for a lengthened period completely checked inquiry into its internal relative chronology-the only chronology that is possible. Nor could I ever have ventured upon such a labour, had not the Berlin Royal Library had the good fortune to possess the fine collection of Sanskrit MSS. formed by Sir R. Chamber, the acquisition of which some ten years ago, through the liberality of his Majesty, Frederick William IV., and by the agency of his Excellency Baron Bunsen, opened up to Sanskrit philology a fresh path, upon which it has already made vigorous progress. In the course of last year, commissioned by the Royal Library, I undertook the work of cataloguing this collection, and as the result a detailed catalogue will appear about simultaneously with these lectures, which may in some sense be regarded as a commentary upon it. Imperfect as, from the absolute point of view, both works must appear, I yet cherish the hope that they may render good service to learning.
How great my obligations are, in the special investigations, to the writings of Colebrooke, Wilson, Lassen, Burnout, Roth, Reinaud, Stenzler and Holtzmann, I only mention here generally, as I have uniformly given ample references to these authorities in the proper place.
The form in which these lectures appear is essentially the same in which they were delivered,* with the exception of a few modifications of style: thus, in particular, the transitions and recapitulations belonging to oral delivery have been either curtailed or omitted; while, on the other hand, to the incidental remarks-here given as foot-notes-much new matter has been added.
BERLIN, July, 1852.
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