TRENCKNER, Vilhelm (Carl Wilhelm). Copenhagen 26.2.1824 — Copenhagen (?) 9.1.1891. Danish Indologist. Son of G. Tr., a German-born baker, educated at German school in Copenhagen. From 1841 studied at Copenhagen Classics (Madvig), Semitic (Hermansen) and soon also Sanskrit and Old Iranian under Westergaard. A small capital gave him the occasion to devote solely to studies without graduation. When that was emptied, he sought in 1853 for a post at Royal Library in Copenhagen, but failed. From 1860 he worked as a teacher at Orphans’ Asylum (Vajsenhus) in Copenhagen, teaching Danish history and geography until his death. Unmarried, never left Denmark.
In the 1850s Trenckner became interested in modern languages such as Hindi, Bengali, Sinhalese and Burmese, but his speciality was and remained Pāli. During many years he went through the Pāli manuscripts in Copenhagen and some in London collecting material for a grammar and a dictionary. He was a minute and critical scholar, whose enormous lexical collections became the basis of the Critical Pāli Dictionary. His first publication came out, when he was already 55. He translated many Pāli texts from manuscripts and prepared several unpublished editions, then used by others. He helped Fausbøll with the Dhammapada edition and Childers in his dictionary work.
Publications: Pāli Miscellany. 1. 83 p. L. 1879 (extraxts from the Milindapañha edited & transl. with notes).
– Edited: Milindapañho. Being dialogues between King Milinda and the Buddhist sage Nāgasena. 8+430 p. L. 1886 (P.T.S. Text Series 69).
– Edited: Majjhima Nikāya. 1. 4+574 p. L. 1887 (continued by others, 2-3 by R. Chalmers, 4 by Mrs. Rhys Davids; P.T.S. Text series 60-63).
– A critical Pali Dictionary, begun by V. Trenckner, revised, continued and edited by Dines Andersen and Helmer Smith. 1:1. Copenhagen 1924-26 (now upto 3:8, 2011).
Sources: D. Andersen, Crit. Pāli Dict. 1, 1924, iii-viii; *Pauly, Køb. Univ. 8, 1992, 548ff. with photo; Peiris, Buddhism 203-206; V. Seemann, D.B.L. 2nd ed. 24, 1943, 245-248; Danish Wikipedia.