Max Abraham is well known for his electromagnetic mass theory, and his book Theorie der Elektrizität is said to be read widely around 1900. I am trying to find this book, but the editions look like a hell.

It is a two volume book. Its first volume was a separate book written by Föppl, and it was already published. Then, when Abraham's book was published, Föppl's book was merged as the volume 1 of that two-volume book.

Weirdly, it looks like these books have more than 15 editions.

And more weirdly, although it was very popular once upon a time, it has never been translated into English.

And more weirdly, most editions cannot be found in catalogs, such as worldcat.org.

And more weirdly, I found another book, which is one volume only, written by Max Abraham and Richard Becker, and translated by John Dougal. I don't know who is Becker, but in the preface it says this edition is published after Max Abraham's death, and he says "although I kept many passages, some fairly extensive alterations have been made...".

I am really lost. How dare he can take a book, after the author dies, make extensive alterations, etc. What is the point?

Does anybody know the weird story of these books?


1 Answer 1


I believe you are talking about this book: Becker: Electromagnetic Fields and Interactions

According to the back side text on my own copy (from memory), it started - as you mentioned - as a textbook by Föppl, taken over by Abraham who edited it in several editions, then taken over by Becker who also edited it in several editions, then finally taken over by Sauter after Becker's death. This final edition is from 1964 and was published in English. (Phew!)

The link above goes to the Dover reprint of this edition. It contains both volumes I and II.


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