Born in Germany and trained in Greek, Latin and Sanskrit, Friedrich Max Müller (1823–1900) settled at Oxford, where he would become the university's first professor of comparative philology. Best known for his work on the Rig Veda, he brought the comparative study of language, mythology and religion to a wider audience in Victorian Britain. His lectures at the Royal Institution, published in two volumes between 1861 and 1864, were reprinted fifteen times before the end of the century. Volume 1 contains the nine 1861 lectures, in which Max Müller aligns the science of language with the physical sciences, breaking his subject down into the three stages that he argues mark the history of any branch of human knowledge: the empirical, the classificatory and the theoretical. Hugely successful at the time - George Eliot was particularly enthused - the lectures remain instructive reading in the history of linguistics.
Preface; 1. The science of language one of the physical sciences; 2. The growth of language in contradistinction to the history of language; 3. The empirical stage in the science of language; 4. The classificatory stage in the science of language; 5. The genealogical stage in the classification of languages; 6. Comparative grammar; 7. The constituent elements of language; 8. The morphological classification of languages; 9. The theoretical stage in the science of language – origin of language; Appendix: genealogical tables of languages; Index.