An Egyptian Princess (Preface to the Second German Edition)

 
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Aut prodesse volunt ant delectare poetae, Aut simul et jucunda et idonea dicere vitae. Horat.
De arte poetica v. 333.

It is now four years since this book first appeared before the public, and I feel it my duty not to let a second edition go forth into the world without a few words of accompaniment. It hardly seems necessary to assure my readers that I have endeavored to earn for the following pages the title of a "corrected edition." An author is the father of his book, and what father could see his child preparing to set out on a new and dangerous road, even if it were not for the first time, without endeavoring to supply him with every good that it lay in his power to bestow, and to free him from every fault or infirmity on which the world could look unfavorably? The assurance therefore that I have repeatedly bestowed the greatest possible care on the correction of my Egyptian Princess seems to me superfluous, but at the same time I think it advisable to mention briefly where and in what manner I have found it necessary to make these emendations.

The notes have been revised, altered, and enriched with all those results of antiquarian research (more especially in reference to the language and monuments of ancient Egypt) which have come to our knowledge since the year 1864, and which my limited space allowed me to lay before a general public. On the alteration of the text itself I entered with caution, almost with timidity; for during four years of constant effort as academical tutor, investigator and writer in those severe regions of study which exclude the free exercise of imagination, the poetical side of a man's nature may forfeit much to the critical; and thus, by attempting to remodel my tale entirely, I might have incurred the danger of removing it from the more genial sphere of literary work to which it properly belongs. I have therefore contented myself with a careful revision of the style, the omission of lengthy passages which might have diminished the interest of the story to general readers, the insertion of a few characteristic or explanatory additions, and the alteration of the proper names. These last I have written not in their Greek, but in their Latin forms, having been assured by more than one fair reader that the names Ibykus and Cyrus would have been greeted by them as old acquaintances, whereas the "Ibykos" and "Kyros" of the first edition looked so strange and learned, as to be quite discouraging. Where however the German k has the same worth as the Roman c I have adopted it in preference. With respect to the Egyptian names and those with which we have become acquainted through the cuneiform inscriptions, I have chosen the forms most adapted to our German modes of speech, and in the present edition have placed those few explanations which seemed to me indispensable to the right understanding of the text, at the foot of the page, instead of among the less easily accessible notes at the end.

 
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