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HOMER - WOLF, Friedrich August.

Prolegomena ad Homerum

sive de Operum Homericorum prisca et genuina forma variisque mutationibus et probabili ratione emendandi. Volumen I [all published].

Halle: e libraria Orphanotrophei, 1795 Stock Code: 132587
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The authorship and composition of the Iliad and the Odyssey

First edition of one of the most important books in the history of classical studies, in which Wolf applied recognizably modern philological methods to the "Homeric Question", the long-standing debate about the authorship and composition of the Iliad and the Odyssey. The subjects Wolf addressed dominated Homeric scholarship for almost two centuries, setting the terms for the analyst/unitarian controversy.

"When Wolf took up his professorship at the Prussian University of Halle in 1783, a critical point in the history of education had been reached. New ideas derived from Locke and Rousseau were at work and Wolf longed to enter the fray. He found able and enlightened allies in the ministers of Frederick the Great, and with their help and by his enthusiasm he was able to carry out his long-cherished plan to give a new basis to the science of philology. To Wolf this meant philology in the original sense - love of letters, of learning and of language. He defined it as 'the knowledge of human nature as exhibited in antiquity'; its matter was everything that remained of ancient culture, to which an equal care and scholarship must be devoted. The 'Prolegomena to Homer', the best exposition to Wolf's beliefs, were written in a great hurry to meet the needs of a lecture course, and they have all the merits of good lectures: command of method, the gift of inspiration, penetration and breadth of view. Wolf's thesis is no theory, but a collection of great ideas, which laid the foundations for the dominance of German scholarship in the nineteenth century. They have inspired and given purpose to education ever since" (PMM).

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Octavo (203 x 118 mm). Contemporary paste paper boards, orange paper spine label, gilt bands, red edges.


With half-title and dedication leaf.


Ownership inscription of P. Behaeghd, 1824, to front pastedown, and extensive manuscript reading list of Homeric books dated 1836-56 with prices to the front free endpaper. Extremities a little worn, some foxing, spotting and toning, as usual with German paper stock of this date, a very good copy.


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