BOLLENSEN, Friedrich. Rossdorf, Kreis Göttingen 12.1.1809 — Wiesbaden 29.2.1896. German Indologist in Russia. Son of a farmer, attended the Gymnasium in Göttingen. Then studied theology at Göttingen, where Ewald prompted him to take Oriental languages. Further details of his study time unknown, Ph.D. 1830 there (not in Indology). He was short time in Courland as a tutor, then teacher (Oberlehrer) of German at the orphanage of Gačina in St.Petersburg in 1834-43. As an adjunkt of German at St.Petersburg University he studied the posthumous papers of Lenz and published from them the Vikramorvaśī. In 1852 he succeeded Petrov as the Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Kazan. From Kazan he travelled in Armenia and Persia. In 1858 returned to Germany planning a scholarly career, but failure at Jena discouraged him and he lived as a private person in Witzenhausen near Göttingen. His first wife in Kazan had died soon, now he married again, had two daughters, and became again widow in 1887. In his last years developed a catarrh, and moved in 1895 to Wiesbaden, where he soon died.
The important Vikramorvaśī. edition was the height of Bollensen’s scholarly career, especially the Prākrits and the metres were dealt with an exceptional competence. A specialist of metrics. In Germany he specialized in Vedic philology, especially in metrics, but was already little bit behind the latest methods. He used metres in order to reconstruct the textual history of the Ṛgveda, but was too keen to make emendations. His etymologies were poor, he did not understand the idea of sound laws. Extensive studies on Piṅgala, on infinitive, and on Vedic metres were unfinished.
Publications: Edited: Vikramorvaśī, das ist Urwasi der Preis der Tapferkeit, ein Drama Kalidasa’s in fünf Akten. 17+608+88 p. St.P. 1846 (edited and translated, copious notes, pp. 507-606 on apabhraṁśa); Mālavika und Agnimitra, ein Drama Kalidasa’s in fünf Akten. 261 p. Lp. 1879.
– “Beiträge zur Erklärung der Mālavikā”, ZDMG 13, 1859, 480-490; “Die Recensionen der Sacuntala”, NGGW 1880, 365-367.
– “Zur Herstellung des Veda”, Or. & Occ. 2, 1862, 457-485; “Die Lieder des Parāçara [RV]”, ZDMG 22, 1868, 569-653; “Die Betonungssystem des Ṛig- und Sāmaveda”, ZDMG 35, 1881, 456-472; “Zur Vedametrik”, ZDMG 35, 1881, 448-455; “Beiträge zur Kritik des Veda”, ZDMG 41-47, 1887-1893; brief articles on Vedic philology in ZDMG and KZ.
– “Beiträge zur Erklärung der persischen Keilinscriften”, Bulletin hist.-phil., Russian Academy 15, 1858 = Mél. asiat. 3, 1859, 316-347.
Sources: Biobibl. slovar’ Kazan 1. 1904, 221f. (defective); W. Neisser, A.D.B. 47, 1903, 91f. and *BB 24, 1899, 173-176 (with bibliography); Stache-Rosen 1990, 34; Windisch 375-379.