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SELECTION OF LECTURES.
Having habituated yourself to the sense of your new dignity, the next step is to decide upon the professors with whom you are to “ hear.” This will not be so easy as you might suppose. Unless you have come to the university with a preconceived plan of study, you will find yourself embarrassed by the wealth from which you are to choose. Fortunately the professors give you ample time for making a suitable selection.
The University opens nominally, it may be assumed, on the 15th of October. One professor announces that he will begin to read on the 18th, another on the 20th, a third on the 25th; in fact, I have known one professor to begin his course on the 9th of November. Each professor, it has been already observed, is a law unto himself: the main point is that he read at least one course of lectures each semester, on a subject of his own selection, for which he has properly qualified himself, and that he cover about so much ground. Whether he begins late and stops early, is a matter in his own discretion. This is not indifference or sloth on the part of the professors, but rather a deliberate forecasting of time and labor. Where the work is heavy, and the field wide, the professor will not waste an hour. Vangerow, for instance, in lecturing at Heidelberg on the Pandects, used to begin on the very first day after the nominal opening day, and continue, averaging three hours daily throughout the winter, until two weeks after the semester had nominally closed.
Each course of lectures is paid for separately, the prices varying with the number of hours occupied in the week. Thus a single course, as it is called, one taking four or five hours a week, is charged about $5; a double course, one of ten or twelve hours a week, would cost $10. The usual double courses are those on the Pandects, on Anatomy and Physiology, and on Chemistry. The highest number of courses (double and single) that I have taken in any one semester (my fifth) was four, aggregating twenty-five hours a week, for which I paid between $25 and $30, a small price, in view of the quantity and quality of the instruction.
Lecture-fees are paid to the Quaestor, and not to the professor direct, although this latter eventually receives them, or the greater part of them, from the Quaestor. The new-comer will be puzzled at the distinction between lectures publice, privatim, and privatissime. Public lectures are those held by a professor gratuitously, on some minor topic of general interest. In the Prussian Universities each professor is held to announce at least one such lecture a term. The privatim lectures are the ordinary ones, for which fees are paid, and which are regarded as the substance of university teaching. A lecture privatissime is nothing more than our private lesson, the terms and times for which are settled by agreement between the professor and the student. The fees for it are not paid to the Quaestor, and the lecture, or lesson, is not entered in the Anmeldungbuch.
I have used more than once the expression “a course of lectures;” to guard against misapprehension, it may be advisable to stop and explain at length. By a course of lectures in a German university is meant a series of lectures on one subject, delivered by one man, during one semester. A German university has, strictly speaking, no course of instruction; there are no classes, the students are not arranged according to their standing by years, there are no recitations, there is no grading, until the candidate presents himself at the end of three or four years for his doctor's degree, when the quality of his attainments is briefly and roughly indicated by the wording of the diploma.
Hospitiren, or Dropping-in-Attendance. Under the pilotage of H- & countryman who had been pursuing classical studies for two years, I went the rounds of what the German students call hospitiren, i. 6., dropping in to a lecture to see how you like the lecturer. This practice prevails to a considerable extent at the University, at least at the begin ning of & semester. It is practically the only way that newly matriculated students have of deciding between rival lecturers or of selecting some lecture that is not embraced in the ordinary routine of study. On this, as on so many points, the Germans display a great deal of practical sense. The student is free to roam about for two or three weeks, but at the end of that time it is expected of him that he will come to a decision and settle down, either to steady work or to steady idleness. Consequently, if you should attend regularly a certain course of lectures, occupying a seat and taking notes, without presenting your Anmeldungbuch to the professor, you would probably be waited upon by the beadle, at your room, and interrogated as to your studies, what you had paid for, what you intended to pay for, and the like. In other words, your freedom of hospitiren will not be suffered to amount to unmistakable “sponging."
I availed myself pretty thoroughly of the hospitiren privilege, attending one or two lectures in every course delivered upon subjects connected in any way with letters. The philosophical faculty covers everything that is not law, medicine,or theology. It embraces, consequently, the exact sciences, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and the like, the descriptive sciences, botany, physiology, geology, the historical sciences, political history, political economy, finance, the humanities, that is, Latin and Greek, Alterthumswissenschaft, Oriental and general philology, and the modern languages, as they are taught philologically and critically. The field, therefore, is immense, and often overlaps those of the other faculties. Thus the medical student, being held to a general knowledge of chemistry, botany, and comparative physiology and anatomy, has to pass at
least three semesters under the philosophical faculty, although en. rolled in the medical. Hebrew, as a study in linguistics, is not regarded as a part of theology proper, but the professor of Hebrew is a member of the philosophical faculty. Candidates for orders, by the way, are obliged to master the outlines of Hebrew grammar at the Gymnasium, before entering the University. On the other hand, students who obtain the degree of Ph.D. for studies in history and political economy are examined in certain legal topics, viz. : Institutes, römische Rechtsgechichte, and deutsche Rechts-und Verfassungsgeschichte that is, the history of Roman legislation and constitutional forms in Germany. This would cover nearly two semesters in the legal faculty. The German theory is that no one is qualified to become an historian or an office-holder of the higher grades, who has not an insight at least into the elements of jurisprudence.
Sample Lectures-Curtius and Ritter. In making my selection of lectures, I was determined by one simple consideration : which of the many distinguished men whom I heard would be likely to teach me the most German. I decided upon two, about as opposite in manner and substance as can well be imagined: Ernst Curtius, now professor in Berlin, who lectured on Greek Art, and Ritter, since deceased, who lectured on the History of Modern Philosophy.
Curtius, then a comparatively young man, had an energetic and rapid, but very distinct enunciation. As his lectures were to & large extent the analysis and criticism of the remains of Greek art, such as temples, friezes, statues, intaglios, and the like, I judged that the subject itself would not only be interesting and profitable, but that the prints which were passed around the class during the lecture, would give me at least a visible image of what the lecturer was speaking about. I made no attempt to take notes. The chief good that the lectures of Professor Curtius did me was to train my ear day by day to the flow of very rapid and very elegant German. This point, it seems to me, has not been sufficiently attended to. It is one thing to read a work in the privacy and quiet of your own room, but it is quite another to listen for an hour to the same author as the words come fast and warm from his lips. Even if you do not catch at first more than a thought or two here and there, and the body of the discourse sounds as the tangled maze of a symphony does to the uninitiated in music, still you are training your perceptive faculties far more than you are apt to suspect. Both ear and brain are on the stretch, you put forth your best efforts to seize and hold the fleeting breath; in short, you work under pressure, whereas in your room you are apt to dilly-danly over your books, to falf asleep, as it were, for want of outside stimulus.' Hearing, of course, does not exclude reading; both are necessary, and the one supple. ments the other. But I take the liberty of calling especial attention to the importance of hearing German well delivered, in view of the fact that only too many English and Americans neglect this element. of training.
Professor Ritter was the exact opposite of his colleague. He spoke very slowly and deliberately, from full notes, with a mild, almost droning intonation, so that it was possible, even for me, to write down every word. In his lectures, then, I used my pen industriously, and succeeded in making an exact reproduction of the professor's. test. This it was my practice to take to my room immediately after the lecture hour, which was from four to five in the afternoon, spending the interval to tea time in going over it again, grammar and dictionary in hand, and writing the translations of words and phrases on the margin and between the lines.
Besides a general knowledge of German, I made one valuable acquisition through Professor Ritter's lectures, to wit, an acquaintance with the vocabulary of abstract and philosophical terms. This, it is well known, is the most difficult part of the language. Our abstract terms are taken from the Latin and Greek, as they are in. French, so that the reader who is familiar with their meaning in one, language can easily recognize them in the other. All that an Eng. lishman or an American needs to prepare himself for reading a French treatise on art, or science, or history, is a slight knowledge of the pronouns and irregular verbs. It is only where concrete terms come. in question, names of objects and things, such as bread, house, dog and the like, that the two languages diverge. These concrete terms. in German coincide generally with the English. But the abstract terms have been developed by means of suffixes and prefixes from, German root-forms, and cannot be comprchended without an insight. into the genius of the language.
THE GERMAN LECTURE SYSTEM.
The lecture system of Germany has been extolled and decried, with equal injustice. Like every other system of man's invention, it is confessedly imperfect. One who attends lectures is not necessarily on the road to knowledge, one who lectures is not necessarily wiser or more interesting than a printed book. But taken all in all, I think that it works well. It gives the lecturer an opportunity of revising his own studies and incorporating fresh knowledge; every course of lectures can be made, as it were, a new edition, which is not usually practicable with a printed book. It gives the hearer the. ripest fruits of research direct from the investigator himself, it quickens the faculties of apprehension, and stimulates subsequent study and collateral reading. Say what they will, the, devotees of the Socratic method will never succeed in arguing the personal element in the lecture-system out of existence.
There are as many different styles of lecturing in Germany as. there are different professors. They can all be reduced, however,
under three general categories: the system of dictating everything, the system of dictating part and explaining part, the system of rapid delivery. By the first is meant that plan in pursuance of which the professor reads off the entire lecture at a uniform rate of speed, slow enough to allow his hearers, unless they should be very clumsy writers, to take down every or nearly every word. Under the second system, the professor dictates a paragraph at a time, reading so slowly that his hearers cannot help catching it, and even pausing and repeating, if he should see that any one in the audience is at fault, and then proceeds to comment rapidly and in a colloquial tone upon what has just been dictated. Under the third system, that of rapid delivery, the instructor speaks after the fashion of our public lecturers, aiming more to impress his students, to arouse and stimulate them, than to give them something that they can carry home “black on white." Many of the more popular lecturers on political history or on topics connected with literary bistory are delivered in this style, especially where the professor can take for granted that his hearers have some previous knowledge, so that his remarks are as it were the novel presentment of an old theme. But in general it may be safely asserted that wherever exact, positive information is to be conveyed, as for instance in law, or in the descriptive and exact sciences, there the only systems followed are the first and the second.
Lectures are usually delivered with what is called tempus, which is emphatically not "on time." Tempus,
on time.” Tempus, or the “academic quarter," as it is otherwise styled, denotes that a lecture announced, e. g., for ten o'clock, is not begun until ten or fifteen minutes after the hour. The reason for this apparent procrastination is a practical one. It not unfrequently happens that the lecturer, to save the time and trouble of going to and fro between his home and the Collegien-haus, will secure two successive hours for two lectures. Still, it is not desirable to read one hundred and twenty minutes on a stretch; the pause, then, is very opportune, giving the lecturer a chance to rest his voice. But the chief utility of the “academic quarter" is for the students themselves. As many of them have three or four lectures in succession, perhaps in different buildings, the pause enables them to make the transition without inconvenience.
As a rule, a university lecture is a simple, straightforward enunciation of fact or opinion, without any attempt at brilliancy of style. You are seated with a dozen or two or three dozen other young men like yourself, smoking, perhaps, and chatting with your neighbor. The bench on which you sit is bard and uncomfortable, the elevated bench before you is inscribed with all sorts of devices and names, the legacy of former generations. Your pen, ink, and paper are spread out before you. The door opens softly, the form of the lecturer moves quietly across the room and ascends the rostrum,