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THE present volume may be allowed to plead its own cause ; its plan and scope are explained in the Introduction. It is for critics to decide how far the author has succeeded in his task, and wherein he has failed. It is the hope of the author that his book may at all events prove useful in conveying some definite information on controverted points, the more so as the excellent work of F. B. Gummere on Germanic Origins, which is the only English work of a general character, covers for the greater part a different field.
I wish to express my gratitude to several scholars who have had considerable share in the production of this book. Without the repeated and earnest solicitation and the encouragement received from Professor Morris Jastrow, Jr., of the University of Pennsylvania, this book would not have been written. Its appearance in English is due to Professor B. J. Vos of the Johns Hopkins University, who, in view of his own deep interest in the subject, was especially qualified to undertake the translation. The first eleven chapters also published in Dutch have been carefully revised by Professor B. Symons of the University of Groningen, who has read the proof sheets with the keen eye of the specialist, and whose numerous suggestions have frequently proved of value in controlling and correcting my own views.
In the chapters devoted to mythology my obligations are less direct. I have, however, gratefully made use of the material collected in the latest and best works, and more especially of the excellent sketch of Mogk in Paul's Grundriss der germanischen Philologie. The general reader may, however, be assured that I have never accepted data without verification, and the scholar will observe that my conclusions frequently differ from those embodied in recent publications. It is my hope, also, that the historical method adopted in the work, and the endeavor to maintain a sharp distinction between what we actually know and what we do not know, may be esteemed advantages which will in a measure redeem other possible imperfections.
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