In this translation an intimate conversational style has been preserved in order to convey as far as possible some idea of the local colour and scene at the time the lectures were held.
The occasion was the opening of the Waldorf School, Stuttgart — the first school to be started by Dr. Steiner. And in these lectures he was to instruct those who aspired to be teachers under this new system. As far back as 1907 he had given his views in lectures to the public and in printed books, but his proposals had not materialized until 1919.
In that year, thanks to the initiative and financial help of Herr Molt, the owner of the Waldorf-Astoria Tobacco Factory at Stuttgart, a school had been built. At the inauguration, Dr. Steiner gave three parallel courses of instruction, one called Allgemeine Menschenkunde als Grundlage der Pädagogik dealing with the Theory of Education on the basis of the entire human being. It is quoted frequently in this volume, but has not yet been published in English. These lectures were followed every morning by the ones now given in this book. In the afternoon came the third series as a sort of practical seminary (the English publication is being prepared).
It seems, therefore, more consistent with the intimate relationship existing between the lecturer and his audience to translate the original text in the frank and homely style in which Dr. Steiner dealt with the questions put to him, omitting a few paragraphs which have no bearing at all outside Germany.
It is only through the public-spirited generosity of Frau Dr. Steiner that these lectures have now come into the hands of the public. They appeared in book form in the original German in 1933 and 1934. Until that time they had been kept in the custody of a few teachers to guide them in their work.
After the opening of the Waldorf School, news of its rapid success soon reached English and American Educationalists, and in 1922, upon the invitation of the Educational Union for the Realization of Spiritual Values, Dr. Steiner lectured at Stratford-on-Avon and Oxford, and on Shakespeare's birthday gave the inaugural lecture at Stratford-on-Avon.
In that year he spoke at several places in England and gave a course of lectures at Ilkley in 1923.
Dr. Steiner died in 1925, but interest in his life's work is increasing, and the result can be seen especially at the Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland.
But it is increasing also in America and other English-speaking countries. Schools are starting and are already promising good results.
The Goetheanum, Dornach, is the recognized centre of all Dr. Steiner's activities, and its educational agency in England is the Rudolf Steiner Educational Union.
The Rudolf Steiner Educational Union has been formed for the co-ordination and representation of educational work on the lines laid down by Rudolf Steiner.
The offices in England are at 54 Bloomsbury Street, London, W.C.I.
At the end of this volume will be found a short description of those translations into English of Dr. Steiner's Educational works now available. These and other works by Rudolf Steiner are procurable from the Rudolf Steiner Educational Union.