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May 19 , 2009

From Philology to English Studies

Language and Culture in the Nineteenth Century


The study of English language and literature in Britain changed dramatically between the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. From Philology to English Studies explores the contribution of philology to this movement. Haruko Momma charts both the rise and fall of philology from antiquity to the late eighteenth century, and the impact of modern philology on the study of modern languages and literatures. Focusing in detail on the work of key philologists in the nineteenth century, Momma considers how they shaped European discourse and especially vernacular studies in Britain: William Jones's discovery of Sanskrit in British India gave rise to Indo-European studies; Max Müller's study of this same language helped spread the Aryan myth to the English-speaking world; the OED achieved its greatness as a post-national lexicon under the editorship of James Murray, a dialectologist originally from Scotland.

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