The Partnership between Jürgen Trabant, the leading Wilhelm von Humboldt scholar, and Jame W. Underhill grew out of a shared friendship for Underhill’s PhD Director, Henri Meschonnic, a great admirer of Humboldt, a prolific author, and a specialist in poetics and translation. After a series of encounters in Paris, Berlin, and Bremen, that collaboration enabled them to put online on the REP website the series of 7 hours of Lectures on Humboldt’s work. This resource is now consulted worldwide, and has been praised by lecturers and academics in Germany, Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland, the Czech and Slovak republics, Poland, and Canada and the USA. Leading specialists of Humboldt and leading scholars in the fields of Semantics and Cultural Anthropology, such as Anna Wierzbicka, have welcomed these lectures elucidating the challenging work of Humboldt, the founder of Ethnolinguistics.
In 2015, Trabant and Underhill signed a contract with Helen Barton of Cambridge University Press to publish a scholarly introduction to Humboldt, Humboldt’s Linguistic Thought: His Ideas in Twenty Questions. While introductions by Manchester and Underhill already exist in English, this will be the first work on Humboldt to address the difficulties of his reception in the English-speaking world and to explore the way various disciplines from Sociolinguistics to the Philosophy of Language cannot afford to ignore Humboldt’s contribution to the way we understand the relationship between language and thought and language and culture.