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Kuhn, Franz Felix Adalbert

KUHN, FRANZ FELIX ADALBERT (1812-1881), German philologist and folklorist, was born at Konigsberg in Neumark on the 1pth 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 1 88 1. Kuhn was the founder of a new school of comparative mythology, based upon comparative philology. Inspired by Grimm's Deutsche Mythologie, he first devoted himself to German stories and legends, and published Markische Sagen und Marchen (1842), Norddeutsche Sagen, Marchen und Gebrauche (1848), and Sagen, Gebrauche und Marchen aus Westfalen (1859). But it is on his researches into the language and history of the IndoGermanic peoples as a whole that his reputation is founded. His chief works in this connexion are : Zur dltesten 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 Herabkunfl des Feuers und des Gottertranks (1859; new ed. by E. Kuhn, under title of Mythologische Stttdien, 1886); and Uber Entwicklungxstufen 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.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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