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 2 contains the twelve 1863 lectures, in which Max Müller argues for the inseparability of the science of language from the science of the mind. He explores 'the body or the outside of language, the sounds in which language is clothed' as well as 'the soul or the inside' and its relation to mythology. Hugely successful at the time - George Eliot was particularly enthused - the lectures remain instructive reading in the history of linguistics.
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.