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FRANZ FELIX ADALBERT KUHN (1812–1881)

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Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 942 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FRANZ FELIX ADALBERT KUHN (1812–1881), German philologist and folklorist, was born at Konigsberg in Neumark on the 19th of November 1812. From 1841 he was connected with the Kollnisches Gymnasium at Berlin, of which he was appointed director in 1870. He died at Berlin on the 5th of May 1881. Kuhn was the founder of a new school of comparative mythology, based upon comparative philology. Inspired by Grimm's Deutsche Mythologic, he first devoted himself to German stories and legends, and published Mdrkische Sagen und Mdrchen (1842), Norddeutsche Sagen, Mdrchen and Gebrduche (1848), and Sagen, Gebrduche and Marchen aus Westfalen (18J9). But it is on his researches into the language and history of the Indo-Germanic peoples as a whole that his reputation is founded. His chief works in this connexion are : Zur altesten Geschichte der Indogermanischen Volker (1845), in which he endeavoured to give an account of the earliest civilization of the Indo-Germanic peoples before their separation into different families, by comparing and analysing the original meaning of the words and stems common to the different languages; Die Herabkunft des Feuers and des Gottertranks (1859; new ed. by E. Kuhn, under title of Mythologische Studien, 1886); and Uber Entwicklungsstufen der Mythenbildung (1873), in which he maintained that the origin of myths was to be looked for in the domain of language, and that their most essential factors were polyonymy and homonymy. The Zeitschrift fiir vergleichende Sprachforschung auf dem Gebiete der Indogermanischen Sprachen, with which he was intimately connected, is the standard periodical on the subject. See obituary notice by C. Bruchmann in Bursian's Biographisches Jahrbuch (1881) and J. Schmidt in the above Zeitschrift, xxvi. n.s. 6.
End of Article: FRANZ FELIX ADALBERT KUHN (1812–1881)
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