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towards the casual user of the dictionary; and by the arrangement, by printing in a different type, by the omission of unimportant additions, by a rigid selection, and a sparing use of citations, I have endeavoured to do all that I could to facilitate a quick supervision of the whole.
From the letter I onwards I have worked by the last or third edition of Brunet, and have even added its more important augmentations in letter H in the revising. The peculiar materials which it contains in letters A-G will be given by way of supplement at the end of the second volume. The period at which I closed my collections was the end of the year 1819, yet I have been at the trouble, as my work proceeded, to add at least the most important works that have recently appeared. And lastly, in order to perform my part, that the work might be adapted by a moderate price for a more general circulation, and thereby accomplish the utility that has been aimed at, I voluntarily undertook its composition under conditions, which approach the nearer to self-denial, the greater was the expense occasioned by the extensive correspondence in which I was inevitably involved, and by the purchase of a considerable number of necessary and indispensable bibliographical works (among which were Dibdin's Bibliotheca Spenceriana, Renouard's Catalogue, Longman's Bibliotheca Anglo-poetica, and the last editions of Haym's Biblioteca Italiana, and Gamba's Serie de' testi). Thus have I, free from every petty secondary consideration, with the purest and most honest love for the science done every thing that was in my power: but notwithstanding this just consciousness, I conceal neither from myself nor from the public the various deficiencies of my labour. The more general deficiencies I have specified above; and with respect to those which may possibly have slipt into some of the articles, notwithstanding all my carefulness, I must quote Renouard's words (Catal. III. 326.) as my apology; Il faudroit savoir bien des choses, et certainement bien plus, que ne vaut cette science, pour ne pas se tromper souvent en bibliographie.
The author and publisher can confidently pledge themselves for the uninterrupted continuation of the work. After its termination an additional one on general literature will follow as a third part, which will specify from the combined departments of scientific and polite, ancient and modern, foreign and domestic, literature, whatever is best, most select, and historically most important in a perspicuous classification, and such as will be easy for every one to inspect. As the dictionary regards what is externally interesting in a bibliographical point of view, so will this latter work note what is intrinsically valuable, and will at the same time, by suitable references, easy to be understood, be placed in such a connection with the dictionary, that, besides its ori
ginal object, it may serve at the same time as a key and a guide to the first two volumes.
Lastly, I have to fulfil a very agreeable duty, in openly acknowledging the especial assistance, for which my work is indebted to the knowledge and activity of the publisher. With a peculiar love of the subject, and an unusual devotedness to it, he has so relieved me by an uninterrupted participation in the work, having both procured costly materials, and made use of his manifold connexions in foreign lands for the attainment of valuable MS. contributions, that the public owe him a similar debt of gratitude, to that which I rejoice in being now able to pay him for myself. Even foreign countries have acknowledged the liberal and meritorious external appearance of the work. I feel also as greatly indebted to M. D. Hain for most important observations on its compass and plan, for the contribution of notices, suggestions, and corrections, and for having also bestowed the most careful attention to the correction of the press of the greatest part of this first volume. In this latter respect my younger brother has been particularly diligent; and I have also read over each sheet in two separate corrections. Whatever other contribution or support my work has experienced, either in my own country or abroad, I shall reserve the announcement until the second volume, because I still look for the fulfilment of some actual promises, and also await the final determinations of some German librarians, who have not as yet been able or found it convenient even to answer the most moderate and discreet requests. The second volume will also contain the announcement of these latter persons by name.
May this work, which I here present to my native land of Germany, be productive of great benefit, and the occasion of something still better and more complete! For myself I have no wish, further than that of a tranquil satisfaction in a select circle. The praise which the French bestow on their Brunet, and the English on their Dibdin, I do not covet; I desire however that justice, which no one can refuse, without injury to his own character.
Dresden, February 12, 1821.
aIr is with a peculiar feeling that I now take leave of a thirteen years labour, of its pleasures as well as of its difficulties. When I commenced it on the 24th of November, 1816, I then with bold yet not presumptuous youthful spirits, entered upon a wide and immense field. The desire for collecting in England, France, and Italy, had even then
a What follows is prefixed to the second volume of the original work.
reached a height, which will form an epoch in the history of bibliophily even for future times, and had produced a variety of considerations, which not having been altogether previously regarded, rendered it necessary to undertake an entirely new revision of the former subjects of bibliography. It was consequently, first of all, proper to trace these streams, to investigate their depth, and to find out with certainty, how far these foreign efforts were of general validity and application. But then it was not a less problem, how to become clear as to the inclinations and aims of the German collector, who is generally accustomed to follow up mere single and individual predilections, which cannot at once be brought into consistency with themselves, not to speak of the views of foreign collectors. And lastly, I had to render all these different considerations subordinate to a higher scientific object, without which all bibliography degenerates to an idle retailing of curiosities.
How far I hoped to solve these different problems, I have so clearly expressed in my preface to the first volume, and in my own notice in the Göttinger gelehrt. Anzeigen (1824, st. 49, p. 485, &c., the insertion of which I was only induced to make by the obligation imposed on me as a fellowlabourer at the time in that work according to the plan laid down, and by the repeated instigation of the deceased Eichhorn), that I have nothing more to say on the subject. But perhaps I might with the same frankness have added something to what I have there said respecting those parts of my work which are either less satisfactory to myself, or are unequally executed, if I should not be thereby led to more diffuse investigations than could find place here. the end of a long journey we certainly see best where we might have entered into shorter or better ways, and I have myself in the progress of my work so perpetually amended it according to existing appearances, that now at the end of it my MS. additions and corrections precisely amount to one-third of the whole. The principal cause of this arises from the circumstance that many contributions by letter, and many works to be made use of came to me when it was too late, that the rich Wolfenbüttel treasures were only open to me towards the end of my work, and that whilst it was going on many important books appeared, which I thought at least I ought to make use of in the articles that were still to be composed. From this a degree of inequality has certainly arisen, perhaps many a contradiction. That inequality is particularly evident in the statement of the impressions on vellum, which at first I busied myself to specify as completely as I could, without regard to their scientific value, as no distinct work respecting them was then existing, and because they are amongst the favourite treasures of the collector and the materials of innocent display on the part of the librarian, who also looks to external appearance. But after Vanpraet's two masterly works had most
satisfactorily supplied the want which had been hitherto experienced, of a repertorium of these articles of luxury, I thenceforward considered it my duty only to cite such as were scientifically important, and sent the rest of my collections on this subject to that learned person, who has embodied them in his two supplementary volumes which have since then appeared.
The execution of the first half of my work happened at a time in which my circumstances were by no means encouraging; the second half has been completed under the most various external interruptions, and accumulated calls of business, and under the obligation imposed by my vocation of directing my studies, and at the same time my industry, to many other exertions far remote from bibliography. In all these different circumstances and situations this work has been the means of calmly diverting my thoughts, and has afforded me the most delightful recreation; and now at its termination I part from it as from an old friend. And however troublesome the labour might often have been, yet am I conscious (and the method of treating some branches of literature will prove), that I accomplished it with real pleasure.
It has also afforded me a richer recompense than any mere pecuniary requital could have offered me, and which without this recompense could not have supplied its place. It has obtained for me the good-will and affection of many extremely respectable scholars and literary friends both in and out of my own country, and it is chiefly owing to this literary effort that I was indebted for the paternal friendship of the never to be forgotten Ersch. Willingly would I here also mention by name. those honoured persons who delighted and assisted me by their rich and important contributions, did I not fear to expose myself thereby to the suspicion of idle ostentation; since among the names would be found men of the greatest note and of the highest rank in several nations: and of an odious disposition; for it would at the same time be evident that among all the German librarians not more than four considered the requests and wishes of their companion in the same calling as deserving of their notice. So much the more heartfelt thanks are here offered to those who, bound by no professional duty, delighted me with their valuable support.
And so also may every expression of the indignation which, in consequence of many disagreeable circumstances experienced during the continuance of my work, perhaps I felt, be at once banished. Some of my opponents have since then passed into the land of peace. I leave it to others, who openly praised and secretly maligned, to satisfy their consciences on that account. I forgive the notice of the easily recognised reviewer in the Leipsic Literaturzeitung, and so much the rather,
as he has therein characterised himself by a complete ignorance of the present state of bibliography, and as I know too well the impure source of his production. But let the assurance, that such an unworthy sinister intention hurts me only on his account, be all the return I make for it here. And towards that which may be yet to come I look with tranquillity, but at the same time with firmness which well becomes one who is conscious of an honest effort.
The systematic work of general literature which I announced in the preface to the first volume as an appendix to this work, will certainly appear; but independently of this dictionary, and in a different form. The suggestions that have been given to me, and the wishes of several intelligent literary friends, have determined me to publish this new work independently, and in such a manner as will permit any part to be procured by those who may be interested only in individual departments. The work is intended at the same time to contain the practical exhibition of my ideas as to the arrangement of a library, in order that it may at the same time serve as the basis of a catalogue raisonné in smaller libraries. Together with this will appear my manual of bibliography, which originated during my labour at the dictionary, as in the composition of some of the articles I noted separately such remarks and observations as presented themselves, and employed myself in my spare hours to bring them into a systematic form. By this means so much at least was gained, that the book would rest on completely new and certain investigations.
And thus I hope, if my strength holds out, for some time at least to cooperate again with those who have hitherto taken part in my bibliographical labours. May they continue their participation, and the work itself not be without an influence in awakening and extending a deeper and better grounded study of bibliography in Germany, to effect which I have honestly exerted every effort.
Dresden, December 19, 1829.