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Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1870-1995.

Courage and good judgement of scholarship are needed for a successful learned publishing house; and success depends also on major developments in those subjects on which it hopes to publish. Perhaps the most interesting contributions to the two handsome volumes of a festschrift celebrating 125 years of successful publishing by Max Niemeyer Verlag(1) are the editor's chapters, the first and last in the Beitrage. A member of the family, Robert Harsch-Niemeyer writes learnedly and lovingly of those who went before him. The founder, Max Niemeyer (1841-1911), had learnt the art of publishing by working in the Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses, famed for excellence among Germanisten, and then he worked briefly in Paris at Librairie Klincksieck and in London with David Nutt. He was succeeded by his son, Hermann Niemeyer (1883-1964), and after him came his grandson, the editor of the book. In the thirteen chapters of the book is set forth the history of philological method, in which Max Niemeyer Verlag played a very prominent role, and we have photographs of some of the most important scholars in the various disciplines as well as of members of the Niemeyer dynasty. The early years, from the foundation in 1870 onwards, were impressively successful. Then came the war of 1914-1918, followed by galloping inflation. All this under the direction of Hermann Niemeyer who had succeeded to the headship of the firm in 1910. The Nazi period brought ideological limitations from the Right and the Second World War brought dangers to the building at Halle but no destruction, followed by ideological limitations from the Left, culminating in nationalization. The traditions of the house could not be maintained at Halle, and Hermann Niemeyer established at Tubingen a new firm with the old name. Harsch-Niemeyer worked his way up at a bookseller's in Tubingen, a short spell in the new, smaller Max Niemeyer Tubingen, and some time at Blackwell's in Oxford. At Blackwell's he had in Henry Schollick a fatherly friend: I knew Schollick slightly (he and I had gone, some years apart, to the same school), and I can appreciate that Harsch-Niemeyer felt well looked-after in Oxford. There followed a period in Paris, working in a subsidiary firm of Klincksieck. A change came with the rise in student numbers and a fall in the demand for books on Germanic Philology. Niemeyer had published in many other fields: as early as 1927 Heidegger had been among contributors to Husserl's Jahrbuch fur Philosophie und phanomenologische Forschung, a significant Niemeyer series.

We learn of Herman Paul and Wilhelm Braune in their youth, and are told more of them and of Eduard Sievers in H. Henne's excellent chapter, 'Germanische und deutsche Philologie im Zeichen der Junggrammatiker'. We see these great scholars in their writings, very many of them published by Niemeyer. There are quotations from Sievers's obituary of Braune in Beitrage zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur, 'PBB' as that journal will always be to those who value it historically. It was a great age of German Germanistik, and it found in Max Niemeyer a great publisher who provided a learned readership with elegant monographs, series, and periodicals. The relationship between the founder and the Junggrammatiker was one of genuine and mutual support. PBB at first lost money, and Braune wrote Altochdeutsches Lesebuch in the knowledge that it would help to compensate for the loss on the journal.

Other contributors give historical accounts of other fields in which Niemeyer publications are of importance. Heinz Vater reviews Linguistics, both diachronic and synchronic. Niemeyer publications in Modern Linguistics did not appear much before the last quarter of this century. Structuralists and Generativists emerged only slowly in Germany where Content Grammar, 'Inhaltbezogene Grammatik', held sway for a long time.

Hans Fromm reviews editions of Middle High German texts and textual criticism. Karl Lachmann appears as founder of the subject in modern times, and Fromm doubts if he would have given his blessing to Textology. Perhaps not, but Lachmann does, in fact, indicate both the wish to get the edited text as near as possible to the original, and he shows an interest in how the text developed later, and a fear that, however diligent the editor may have been, he might have missed good readings because he failed to understand them as such, and, more important in terms of Textology, he reveals an interest in what good scribes as they copied saw fit to change deliberately rather than by accident.(2) Now the study of the symbiosis in the German Middle Ages of oral and written discourse flourishes. Fromm's account is valuable in tracing the history of textual criticism from the beginnings to more recent times with special reference to Middle High German. Carl von Kraus whose conviction that a good editor could see through the scribal witness to the author's own composition appears dated now. The contribution of Max Niemeyer Verlag is nowhere stressed, yet is discreetly apparent everywhere: Altdeutsche Textbibliothek, Hermaea, Texte und Untersuchungen zur deutschen Literatur des Mittelalters, and Texte und Textgeschichte, as well as very many monographs require more space than the twenty-seven pages of this valuable chapter.

Wilfried Barner has a chapter on Literatur-wissenschaft, a term that appeared as early as 1894 in an inaugural lecture, as we learn incidentally. The History of Ideas is the subject of a chapter by Holger Dainat and Rainer Kolk. In 1923 the wide-ranging, and at times controversial Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift fur Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte was founded. Nazi ideology was obviously in conflict with many of the ideas and ideals that inspired DVjs; it was compelled to cease publication in October 1944, but started up again after the war. In 1934, after the direction of National Socialist ideology had become clear, the publisher, Hermann Niemeyer, wrote a letter to the editor Paul Kluckhohn, advising him not to change the factual basis of the journal but to continue work as before, a policy statement advocating damage limitation and showing awareness of the nature of the threat. E. M. Swiderski's is an account of philosophical works published by Max Niemeyer Verlag, which, because of Husserl and Heidegger among those it published, was strong in Phenomenology: after the decline of Phenomenology, in the 1960s, no single branch dominated.

Kurt Baldinger provides a highly readable, brief history of Romance Philology, starting in the late seventeenth-century. In the nineteenth century Bonn became the German centre, under Diez and Wendelin Forster. The spoken languages were of little interest to these great scholars; 'Heaven preserve us, that a philologist should ever become a language teacher,' said the prolific English and Romance scholar Wilhelm Vietor in 1899. Max Niemeyer Verlag began Grober's Zeitschrift flit romanische Philologie in 1877; Grober died in 1911, but the journal has retained its importance to this day and has extended its range to embrace the synchronic study of the language.

Hans Sauer's account of 'Anglistik im Max Niemeyer Verlag' begins in the second half of the last century when in Germany English Studies were usually combined with the study of another language, French or German, and sometimes all three. Anglia began publication in 1878, and flourishes to this day. Significant contributions appeared often in long papers, series of papers even, for example, Einenkel's 'Das englische Indefinitum', and Forster's 'Vom Fortleben antiker Sammellunare'; among them Flasdieck's great studies of Germanic weak verbs of the third class and the Germanic verb for wollen stand out. Very major contributions appeared, from 1952 onwards, in the 'Buchreihe der Anglia'. Sauer might have mentioned that from the very start a place was found in Anglia for many quite substantial doctoral dissertations. Sievers's Angelsachsische Grammatik, is still (in Brunner's revision) as 'Sievers-Brunner' a leading, to my mind, the leading grammar of Old English. Morsbach's Studien zur englischen Philologie and the 'Neue Folge' of that series, Brotanek's Neudrucke fruhneuenglischer Grammatiken, and in the last twenty years Linguistische Arbeiten (covering many languages), are examples of important Niemeyer series, old and new.

K. H. Schmidt surveys Celtic Studies, a field in which Zeitschrift fur Celtische Philologie is the leading international periodical. It began in 1896 (not 1904 - pp. 205 and 236 do not agree on the date). The 'Buchreihe der ZCP' is a distinguished series.

Two important publications have a chapter each: W. Erhart on Germanistik, and G. Ineichen on Romanische Bibliographie (which began in 1892 as a supplement to ZrP). A. Esch contributes a chapter on the German Historical Institute in Rome.

The second volume of the festschrift gives a complete list of publications from 1950 to 1995. It will be of practical use to scholars and librarians of scholarly libraries. In this review I have concentrated on the history of Max Niemeyer Verlag before 1950 rather than on the last fifty years. It is a success story from 1870 to 1995: long may its success continue.

E. G. STANLEY Pembroke College, Oxford

1 R. Harsch-Niemeyer (ed.), Beitrage zur Methodengeschichte der neueren Philologie - Zum 125jahrigen Bestehen des Max Niemeyer Verlages. Pp. xii + 266. Karin Wenzel (ed.), Max Niemeyer Verlag Gesamtverzeichnis 1950-1995. Pp. [iv +] 212. Tubingen: Max Niemeyer, 1955. DM 38.00

2 Der Nibelunge Not reit der Klage (1826), vi-vii.
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Title Annotation:German publishing house
Author:Stanley, E.G.
Publication:Notes and Queries
Date:Sep 1, 1996
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