This book was originally planned as an anniversary gift.
In 1888, the Royal Prussian Association of Literary Experts
could look back on fifty years of activities, and the book
was to some extent intended as a public report on the
achievements of the Experts' Association over those first
fifty years of its existence. For it was to contain all
reports that, in accordance with the Imperial Law of 11
June 1870, had been submitted on demand of the judicial
However, this plan could not be realised. First of all,
there were various external reasons which made it impossible
to prepare the work in time for the date of the anniversary.
Apart from that, though, inclusion of all the reports would
have made the book too large. Moreover, amongst these reports
there were also a number which would not have been of general
interest, since they merely involved a technical comparison
of the works in question, without raising any more profound
issues relevant to the book trade and literary production.
In view of these considerations, the only feasible option
that remained was to make a narrower selection from the copious
amount of submitted reports and to limit their publication to