Germany, a Companion to German Studies

By Jethro Bithell | Go to book overview

PREFACE

THE plan of the present volume is modelled -- though with the freedom required by certain differences between the two countries -- on that followed by Professor Allison Peers in Spain ( 1929), the immediate success of which proved the need for a series of books dealing comprehensively with the physical and intellectual landscapes of the countries of the world.

The essentials of the plan are: (a) that the chapters should be written by specialists; (b) that these specialists should be British-born; (c) that the information provided should be what is required for examinational and other purposes by serious students, academic or otherwise, and by travellers in the country concerned who take an intelligent interest in what they hear and see.

Since we are anxious to give a picture of British scholarship as a whole in the field of German, we have been at pains to recruit our specialists from the various Universities of the Kingdom; we come from Cam and Isis and Thames, Avon and Clyde, Mersey and even Irwell.

Care has been taken, too, to assure the support of German-born specialists in England; they will be the last to think they have been slighted by old students of their own who are bound to them by ties of affection as well as of respect; as a matter of fact, German professors here have been consulted at all stages, and we have their assurance that none more than they realize how vital it is that their students should have a chance of expressing the British view of German subjects. It is indeed only by self-expression of native-born scholars that we can hope to build up an English school of German studies at all comparable, if not with that of the Germans themselves -- though why should we aim at less? -- at least with that of industrious and self-assertive France. A glance at the Bibliography to the Literature chapters of this volume will show how far we lag behind France in the mass of our original work on sections of German literature: we know that there is at least one authoritative French book on nearly every German author, while English books on German authors are few and far between, and none of them are authoritative out of England, with the exception perhaps of C. H. Herford Studies in the Literary Relations of England and Germany in the Sixteenth Century. (And one should

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