Scherer, Wilhelm

Scherer, Wilhelm

(vĭl`hĕlm shĕr`ər), 1841–86, German philologist, b. Austria. Scherer held professorships at the universities of Vienna, Strasbourg, and Berlin. His History of German Literature (1883, tr. 1886) and his history of the German language (1868) are his best-known works. Through his writings ran a strong sense of nationalism. Scherer was one of the first to maintain that the phonetic development of language follows set rules that do not admit of exception.
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Scherer, Wilhelm


Born Apr. 26, 1841, in Schönborn, Austria; died Aug. 6,1886, in Berlin. German philologist.

Scherer graduated from the University of Vienna in 1864. He became a professor at Vienna in 1868, at the Kaiser Wilhelm University (University of Strasbourg) in 1872, and at the University of Berlin in 1877. The leader of a school of positivist literary scholars, he advocated renunciation of the traditions of idealist metaphysics. Scherer sought to apply the rigorous methods of science to the humanities and to introduce the historical descriptive method into comparative and genetic philology. His theory governed the development of Germanic philology in Germany for many years. Scherer also studied the history of the German language.


Istoriia nemetskoi literatury, parts 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1893. (Translated from German.)
Zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache. Berlin, 1868; 2nd ed., Berlin, 1878.
Deutsche Studien, vols. 1–3. Vienna, 1870–78.
Aus Goethes Frühzeit. Strasbourg-London, 1879.
Poetik. Berlin, 1888.


Schmidt, J. “Gedächtnisrede auf Wilhelm Scherer (1841–1886).” In the collection Portraits of Linguists: A Biographical Source Book for the History of Western Linguistics, 1746–1963, vol. 1. Bloomington-London, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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