The Reader by A. A. Macdonell is meant to be a companion volume to his Vedic Grammer for Students. It contains thirty hymns selected from the Rgveda primarily for students who while acquainted with classical Sanskrit are beginners of Vedic lacking the aid of a teacher with adequate knowledge of the earliest period of the language and literature of India. In conjunction with the author's Vedic Grammar, the reader aims at supplying all that is required for the complete understanding of the selections. A copious index has been added for the purpose of enabling the student to utilize to the full the summary of Vedic Philosophy which this book contains.
Arthur Anthony Macdonell was a noted Sanskrit scholar- born at Muzaffarpur in the Tirhut region of the state of Bihar in British India, the son of Charles Alexander Macdonell, of the Indian Army. He was educated at Göttingen University, then matriculated in 1876 at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, gaining a classical exhibition and three scholarships (for German, Chinese, and the Boden Scholarship for Sanskrit).
He graduated with classical honors in 1880 and was appointed Taylorian Teacher of German (language) at Oxford. In 1883 he obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Leipzig and then became Deputy Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford in 1888, and Boden Professor of Sanskrit in 1899 (a post that carried with it a fellowship of Balliol College, Oxford).
Macdonell edited various Sanskrit texts, wrote a grammar, compiled a dictionary, and published a Vedic grammar, a Vedic Reader, and a work on Vedic mythology; he also wrote a history of Sanskrit.