AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

Breul, Karl Hermann (1860-1932)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0367 KHB
Held at: Institute of Modern Languages
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: Breul, Karl Hermann (1860-1932)
Date(s): 1885-1918
Level of description: Collection (Fonds)
Extent: 10 boxes
Name of creator(s): Breul | Karl Hermann | 1860-1932 | Professor of German, University of Cambridge
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Karl Hermann Breul was born in Hannover, 1860 and educated at Lyceum II Gymnasium, where the headmaster, W Weidasch was a Schiller scholar who believed in the compulsory teaching of foreign languages. Accordingly Breul was obliged to study Greek, Latin, French and English, and volunteered to take classes in Hebrew. His principal tutor was Adolf Ley, former French and German tutor to Lord Kitchener.

In 1878 Breul left school to enter Tübingen University. He continued to study during his military service, working on South German dialects, particularly Swabian. At Tübingen he attended the lectures of Christoph Sigwart (1830-1904) and Karl Reinhold von Köstlin (1819-1894) in philosophy and literature. In 1879 he left Tübingen for Strassbourg and spent a semester studying English and French philology under Ten Brink, Boehmer and Eduard Koshwitz (1851-1904). In the winter of that year he left for Berlin and the Friedrich Wilhelm Universität, where he remained until taking his doctorate in 1883, with a thesis on an Old English epic `Sir Gowther', and a lengthy treatise on comparative literature connected with the legend of `Robert le Diable'. His tutors at Berlin included Julius Zupitza (1844-1895), Adolf Tobler (1835-1920), Karl Müllenhoff (1818-1884) and Wilhelm Scherer.

In 1884, after briefly teaching in German secondary schools, Breul left Berlin for Paris to further his studies of French and romance languages and literatures. He studied under Gaston Bruno Paulin Paris (1839-1903) and Paul Meyer (1840-1917). During this time he translated Tobler's book on French versification into French, with the assistance of his friend, Léopold Sudre (b 1855).

In 1884 Breul was appointed the first lecturer in Germanic language and literature at Cambridge University, five years later he was appointed a Reader. In 1886 he was elected a Fellow of King's College and in 1896 he was awarded a Litt.D. In 1897 he was one of the co-founders of the `Modern Language Quarterly'. In 1902 he was offered a Professorship at the University of London, but refused it. In 1910 he was appointed the first Schröder Professor of German at Cambridge. He was President of the English Goethe Society, and represented it at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Wiener Goethe-Verein in 1928.

Breul's research and publications reflect the broad base of his education and interests. However, over and above that, Breul sought to promote the higher study of German philology and literature in the United Kingdom, and to develop and strengthen the knowledge and understanding of each other's language and culture between Germany and Britain. He founded the Honours School in German at Cambridge, and was largely instrumental in re-shaping the study of German in other British universities. Many of the best modern language teaching posts in Britain were held by Breul's former students. He wrote and lectures on the training and qualification of modern language teachers, which he regarded as a high priority for British secondary schools.

Publications: (Trans. with L Sudre) A Tobler Le Vers français ancien et moderne (1885); Sir Gowther. Ein Englische Romanze aus dem XV Jahrhunert (1886); A Handy Bibiographical Guide to the Study of German Language and Literature for the Use of Students and Teachers of German (1895); Die Originisation des höhren Schuhlwesens in Grossbritannien (1897); The Teaching of Modern Foreign Languages in Secondary Schools (1898); Betrachtungen und Vorschläbetreffend die Gründung eines Reichsinstituts für Lehrer des Englischen in London (1900); Cassell's New German Dictionary, (2nd ed, 1906); (Trans) Deutschland im XIX Jahrhundert (1913); Students' Life and Work in the University of Cambridge [1908]; numerous articles in European and America learned journals. He also edited seven volumes in the Cambridge University Pitt Press series: Lessing and Gellert: Fabeln und Erzählungen (1887); Benedix: Dr Wespe (1888); Hauff: Das Bild des Kaisers (1889); Schiller: Wilhelm Tell (1890); Schiller: Geschichte des dreissigjähren Buch III (1892); Schiller: Wallenstein (1894, 1896), Goethe: Iphigenie auf Tauris (1899) and Die Braut von Messina, oder, Die feindlichen Brüder: ein Trauerspiel mit Chören / Schiller (1913).


Scope and content/abstract:

Correspondence and papers of Professor Karl Hermann Breul, 1885-1918, comprising:
General correspondence with academic friends and colleagues, students, benefactors, and publishers, correspondents include Hermann Hager, 1886-1893; Robert Priebsch, 1896-1913; Arthur Napier, 1888; Patrick Cahill, 1906-1907; W I McGowan 1902-1907; F C Nicholson, 1902-1913; Thomas Rea, 1904-1911; E L Milner-Barry, 1907-1911; Marshall Montgomery, 1910-1914; Walter Rippmann, 1906-1914; F E Sandbach, 1903-1911; Max Freund, 1909-1914; Charles Harold Herford, 1903-1913; Arvid Johansson, 1905-1913; J Kirkpatrick, 1906-1912; A C Benson 1904-1914; Oscar Browning, 1884-1907; Francis Darwin, 1899-1918; Sir James Frazer, 1912-1914; John Gibb, 1904-1906; A E Housman, 1911; Henry Jackson, 1890-1910; R C Jebb, 1894-1904; C S Kenny, 1907-1914; J B Mullinger, 1913-1914; J P Postgate 1892-1910; E S Roberts 1889-1913; W W Skeat, 1890-1907; Sir Adolphus William Ward, 1905-1912; Eugen Frisch, 1903; Wilhelm Viëtor, 1893-1903; Carl Dunker, 1908; Henry and Agnes Tiarks, 1909-1911; W T Stead, 1906; Theodor Lorens, 1905-1910, and Edward Bell, 1904-1913;
Correspondence on address for Professor C A Buchheim, 1897-1898;
Correspondence on 25th anniversary of the Medieval and Modern Languages Tripos at Cambridge, 1909;
Correspondence with the English Goethe Society, 1897-1910;
Correspondence with the Modern Language Association, 1897-1910, but mainly relating to meeting in Cambridge, 1910;

Personal Papers comprise:
Letters of congratulation on award of Prussian Order of the Red Eagle (4th Class), 1909;
Testimonials for posts of Professorship at Prague University, 1888, Examiner in the University of London, 1892, Professorship at Bedford College London, 1896, Professorship at University College London, 1897, Professorship in London University, 1902, and post of Examiner in German, Glasgow University, 1903;
Correspondence and papers on appointment as Schröder Professor of German at Cambridge, 1909-1910, including letters of congratulation and press cuttings;
Photograph of Karl Breul, 1885.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English and German

System of arrangement:

Papers divided into two broad classes, General Correspondence and Personal Papers

Conditions governing access:

Researchers should apply to consult material at least forty-eight hours in advance by letter, facsimile, e-mail or telephone. The Library staff need a name and contact number, a concise and clear idea of the nature of the enquiry and a date and time for consultation.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies may be made, although this is at the discretion of the Librarian and is dependent on the nature of the material.

Finding aids:

Box lists

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Source of acquisition by IGS not known

Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000 and National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
May 2002

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Personal Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"