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ture; which however, on the other hand, were wanting to me in the oldest Dutch literature, inasmuch as little more has been done for the knowledge of the first Dutch typographical productions than there has for the Spanish. With regard to the more modern Dutch literature, since the 17th century, the valuable catalogues of private collections and the excellent Naamlyst afforded me notices equally copious and trustworthy. In the Danish, Polish, and Russian literature the want of sources of information and my ignorance of those languages opposed such obstacles as, notwithstanding all my efforts, I could not overcome, and have occasioned these departments of my book to be the most scanty and unsatisfactory. Oriental literature is treated less fully on account of its more confined interest, and Rabbinical works are almost entirely passed over for the same reason. I have moreover enlarged the peculiar plan of Brunet, in having paid an equal attention to the bibliomaniac fancies of all nations, as far as they came to my knowledge; and in having always kept in view, with a stricter pursuit of the object, what he has sometimes attended to and sometimes neglected. Thus I have endeavoured to give as complete an account as possible of all the typographical productions on vellum which I could discover, and have also used on other accounts Renouard's catalogue, Dibdin’s, and various other works, with a detail, into which Brunet has not entered. What, on the other hand, I have omitted, is generally so inconsiderable and unessential, that it would scarcely be missed by any collector, and least of all by a German.
In the working up of the materials acquired in this manner, the strictest accuracy was my first rule, in observing which to the highest possible degree, I even ran the hazard of being considered too attentive to trifles. I have subjected all my predecessors, independently of every previous opinion respecting them, to the strictest scrutiny, collated them anew with the sources from whence they derived their information, and compared them, wherever it was possible, with the works they describe ; nor have I admitted a single line, which has not become my own property, from the nature of my previous investigation. I dare therefore with security challenge a comparison with Brunet's work. The titles, which Brunet often treated very arbitrarily, are faithfully copied, retaining all that is important, and in order to be able to effect this with respect to books which I had not at hand, I have often been occupied an hour or more with a single title. Whether it should be et, atque, or ac, historia, istoria, or storia in the title, has in many instances been laboriously verified. I have been equally industrious in the case of collations. Those which I could make from copies in the Royal library may be entirely relied on, because this library for the most part contains such copies as have been carefully selected
from several others in the course of purchases of entire and important collections, and I have so strictly followed the principle of collating whatever came under my own eye, as even to have collated the Aldines afresh, notwithstanding Renouard's extremely correct descriptions. Where I could not undertake the thing myself, I have at least carefully collated the different collations of others, and selected those the correctness of which appeared to be best vouched for ; but I have at the same time annexed the variations of other statements. In the original editions, as far as my own inspection or resources reached, I have noted the number of lines in each page or column, because this is often the shortest way to distinguish such editions, which in other respects have much resemblance to each other (for example, the first undated editions of the Latin Bible, or of the ancient classics), and because it is at the same time a very usefu) means for recognising defective copies, and such as want the colophon. In doing this, I have followed the principle already adopted by my predecessors, of only reckoning the lines of the actual text, leaving out the column-title and line of signatures, and my statements are always taken from an enumeration of lines in several full pages and uninterrupted by any breaks, in different parts of the book.
The greatest possible completeness in each article was the second object which I considered myself bound to regard. I have consequently more fully expatiated on works, which not only from their connexion with others, and from their reference to science, but also from their own peculiar value were the object of particular interest (for example, the ancient and more modern classics), I have given in part their histories (Epistole obscurorum virorum, De imitatione Christi, De tribus impostoribus, old romances), I have carefully noticed the first editions of important works of more modern times, and have added further references, and sometimes my own opinions, or those of others; my own however more sparingly, and the more so as I was obliged to have regard to space, and it was my object before every thing else to procure suitable and useful matter. My opinions only extend to such works as belong to the more confined compass of my own studies, and with which I was more accurately acquainted, from a longer examination. With respect to some of them I have to observe, that Lessing's principle was mine; “ Equity regulates itself strictly according to the desert of what is presented to it, and gives to every one its due.” Lastly, I have been, as far as possible, attentive to a convenient and easy use of the work, and to arrangement. Not only in the longer, but also in the shorter articles, I have endeavoured to bring it to such a condition, that whatever was sought for, might every where be easily presented to the eye. If a regard to such a circumstance be a matter of duty towards literary persons, who are so much occupied, it is still more
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 vaul 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 original 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.
aIt 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 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 inclina. tions 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.
a What follows is prefixed to the second volume of the original work.
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. At 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
works to be made use of came to me when it was too late, that the rich Wol. fenbüttel 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