An excerpt from the beginning of the Historical Preface (published 1920): IT is w about a hundred years since the Serbian philologist, Vuk Karadjich, published his first collection of Serbian folk-songs, revealing their originality and beauty to literary Europe. The charm of these simple and powerful poems was so great that in the very beginning they aroused genuine enthusiasm wherever they penetrated. Poets, folklorists, savants - all found reasons eugh to study and enjoy them. One of their greatest admirers, Jacob Grimm, asserted that since the days of Homer, one could say, in the whole of Europe there was t a single phemen which would make us understand the essence, as well as the genesis, of epics, to such an extent as they (i.e., the Serbian folk-songs) do. Goethe himself wrote on several occasions about the character of these poems (in his Kunst and Altertum), and, during a conversation with Eckermann, he once ventured to compare the beauty of some examples to that of the Song of Songs. With the vogue of Romanticism the interest for Serbian folk-epics grew all over Europe; translations, imitations, mystifications (for instance, La Gouzla, by Prosper Merimee), as well as paraphrases, appeared almost in all European languages, gaining more and more admiration for the poetical genius of the Serbian peasantry. The high appreciation of this utterly fresh and naive genius may be sufficiently illustrated by quoting some passages of the well-kwn German translator of the Serbian songs, Miss Talvj (Therese von Jacob, later Mrs. Robinson). In her English work, Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavonic Nations (New York, MDCCCL), she writes: All that the other Slav nations, or the Germans, the Scotch, and the Spaniards possess of popular poetry, can at the utmost be compared with the lyrical part of the Serbian songs, called by them female songs, because they are sung only by females and youths; but the long epic extemporised compositions, by which a peasant bard, sitting in a large circle of other peasants, in Unpremeditated but perfectly regular and harmonious verse, celebrates the heroic deeds of their ancestors or contemporaries, has parallel in the whole of history since the days of Homer. And, again, Indeed, what epic popular poetry is, how it is produced and propagated, what powers of invention it naturally exhibits, -powers which art can command, - we may learn from this multitude of simple legends and fables. The Serbians stand in this respect quite isolated; there is modern nation that can be compared to them in epic productiveness; and a new light seems to be thrown over the grand compositions of the ancients. Thus, without presumption, we may prounce the publication of these poems one of the most remarkable literary events in modern times.... It would lead too far to quote the opinions on this subject of other important authorities, such as the great Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz, the Russian scholar Pypin, the Italian writer, poet, and savant Nicolo Tomaseo, etc. But common to all of them is the fact that they give to the Serbian folk-poetry one of the foremost places among the poetry of all nations.