Surely no apology is needed for the appearance of this volume. The number of Grieg's admirers is legion, yet up to the present time there has been no book in English (or even in German) to which they could go for information regarding his life, his personality, and his works. The French have been somewhat more fortunate, for they have had, since 1892, Closson's excellent brochure; even that, however, has only forty pages about Grieg, with a few paragraphs on his life. Schjelderup's "Edvard Grieg og hans Vaerker " (1903) exists, so far, only in Norwegian. It devotes much less space to the composer's life than to his works, of which it contains some admirable analyses. Grieg himself, although a keen and entertaining writer, has told the public very little about himself and his works. Brilliant offers for an autobiography have been made him, but, partly from disinclination, partly because of persistent ill-health, he has not accepted them. Letters he has written in abundance; one of his friends, Mr. Feddersen, has over a hundred of them ; but almost the only ones of his letters which have been made public are the few included in this volume.
Under these circumstances, and in view of the fact that Grieg has led a secluded life in the Far North, it is perhaps not surprising that no elaborate biography has heretofore been attempted. I myself was under the impression, when Mr. Lane first asked me to write this monograph, that it would be a little difficult to find the material for it.