GEIGER, Magdalene

GEIGER, Magdalene (née Grobe). Calbe (an der Saale) 19.6.1877 — 25.1.1960. German Indologist. Wife of —> W. Geiger. Daughter of a flax mill owner, according to custom of the time was sent to a girls’ school in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. In school and at home she learnt classical languages. After an unsuccesful marriage began in 1911 studies of classical philology at Berlin, where a young woman still was an exception. Soon she became interested in Indology and chose it as her special field. After having learnt elementary Sanskrit under Beckh started study on Central Asian fragments under Lüders. The war impended planned travel of study to England. In 1915 she moved to Erlangen and continued her studies under Geiger, with whom she soon became engaged. The marriage was completed on 12.4.1917. In 1920 the couple moved to Munich and after WG’s retirement in 1924 settled down in the neighbourhood of Munich. In 1925-26 and 1931-32 they visited Ceylon, in 1936 Brazilia. During the last years of WG she concentrated on nursing and helping her old husband, but after his death (1943) returned to her own studies. During her old age she suffered of poor sight and had to use a loupe for reading.

M. Geiger participated intensively in the work of her husband, for instance in the Sinhalese dictionary. After his death she started to write an introduction to ancient Indian civilization on the basis of Bāṇa’s novels, which turned out to be an arduous work. At her death the manuscript was nearly complete. Other posthumous works are articles on Kāma according to the Kādambarī, and on Jacobi’s and Tilak’s theories (“Noch einmal über den indischen Kalender und das Alter des Veda”). In the latter she suggested that the indications for an early age do not belong to the texts, but to the tradition used in them. She also collected materials for royal genealogies from inscriptions. She was an enthusiastic gardener.

Publications: Edited and translated, with W. Geiger: “Die zweite Dekade des Rasavāhinī”, 74 p. SBaAW 1918 (the first decade was published by Spiegel in 1845).

With W. Geiger: Pāli Dhamma vornehmlich in der kanonischen Literatur. 129 p. ABaAW 31:1, 1920.

– “Der Haṁsa”, Münch. St. z. Sprachw. 10, 1957, 48-53.

Sources: H. Bechert, ZDMG 111, 1962, 16-22; Stache-Rosen 1990, 130 with photo; photo also in Titus galeria (originally from Fs. Geiger).

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