The present English Translation is based on the original German work written by Professor Winternitz and has been revised in the light of further researches on the subject by different scholars in India and elsewhere.
Winternitz's major work was Geschichte der Indischen Literature). The first volume was published in two parts in 1905 and 1908. It dealt with Vedic literature, the epics and the Puranas. The second volume on Buddhist and Jain literature appeared in two parts, in 1913 and 1920. In the last volume, Kavya literature and scientific literature found a representation. A bird's eye view of the vernacular literature of modern India completed that volume published in 1922. The value of the work was enhanced by copious notes. The English translation was revised by Winternitz himself. The first volume was published in calcutta in 1927, the second in 1933. The treatment of Buddhist Sanskrit literature in the English translation represented a new edition. Winternitz died before the third volume could be revised.
Volume I is divided into two section. Section I relates to Veda (the Four Samhitas), Brahmanas, Aranyaka, Upanisads, Vedangas and the literature of the Ritual. Section II relates to the study of two great Epics of India-the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. It carries out a general survey of the Puranic literature, and provides ample information about the Tantras too.
Volume II contains two section viz. Buddhism and Jainism. The edition has been translated from the original, incorporating the additional information as found in Mrs. Ketkar's translation from which a larger part of the text has been reproduced here verbatim.
Volume III covers the history of classical Sanskrit literature and scientific Indian literature with its characteristics, grammar, lexicography, philosophy, dharmasastra, architecture, sangitasastra, kamasastra, ayurveda, astronomy, astrology and mathematics and also has an appendix.