Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

He who engages in the labour of abridgement ought to feel that it is 
a self-imposed task, for the successful performance even of which he will 
not always be requited by the gratitude of those for whose benefit it 
was undertaken. It is not enough that he is faithful to his original, 
and that, while preserving its continuity of narrative and description, he 
retains all that is relevant in facts and valuable in doctrines; thus giving, 
in reduced dimensions, the characteristic features which were spread 
out with fatiguing amplification in the large work. Expectation will 
still go beyond ability; and, after all his conscientious pains-taking, he 
must be prepared to hear of omissions charitably imputed to him as 
negligences, and of compression complained of as obscurity. Many 
who never read the original, and who would have been repelled by its 
length and perplexing details, some who knew nothing at all antecedently 
of its character, will affect a sudden critical illumination, and with an 
oracular shrug whisper a wish that it had been spread out before them 
If from timidity, or want of entire conviction of the propriety of 
undertaking to abridge Muller’s great work on Physiology, it were 
deemed necessary to invoke the sanction of authority, the editor of the 
present volume might refer to one eminent teacher,* who advised the 
measure, and to anothert who gave it his ready approval. The editor, 
himself, felt assured, from an experience of many years teaching Phy¬ 
siology, as part of and in connection with the Institutes of Medicine, 
that the work of Müller in its entireness, however admirably calculated 
it may be to, furnish information to the writer and lecturer, is not 
adapted to the wants, nor can it come within the requirements of the 
student of medicine. It is a vast repertory of facts and opinions in 
physiological science, but it bewilders the inexperienced votary by its 
very extent; and he who has gone over it without halt or pause, or, 
indeed, at all, may well speak, as even the indefatigable German student 
himself is said to do, of his having performed a feat. 
* Dr. Horner. 
f Dr. Jackson.


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