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. Volume 2 contains the twelve 1863 lectures, in which he argues for the inseparability of the science of language from the science of the mind. Hugely successful at the time - George Eliot was particularly enthused - the lectures remain instructive reading in the history of linguistics.
Volume 1: 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. Volume 2: Preface; 1. Introductory lecture: new materials for the science of language, and new theories; 2. Language and reason; 3. The physiological alphabet; 4. Phonetic change; 5. Grimm's law; 6. On the principles of etymology; 7. On the powers of roots; 8. Metaphor; 9. The mythology of the Greeks; 10. Jupiter, the supreme Aryan god; 11. Myths of the dawn; 12. Modern mythology; Index.