Two separate but complementary questions – the unmistakable outline of the dynamic individual and the socially and culturally constrained biographical pattern – inform this work on international adult education. 67 experts drawn from 22 countries and five continents have helped to give it its compendium-like character, comprising 62 revised and enlarged papers originally presented in 1996 at the Sixth International Conference on the History of Adult Education. The language of publication is English, with additional 18 German-language contributions, all prefaced by an abstract in English. The period principally treated extends from the 18th to the 20th century. Charting as it does the importance of personality and biography for both the subjective educational process and the development of an education system, this systematically compiled work opens up a long neglected page not only in international educational theory but also in educational and cultural history. A detailed preliminary announcement of the two conference volumes can be found in the «International Yearbook of Adult Education», ed. Joachim Knoll, Vol. 25/1997 under the title «Personality and Biography in the Spotlight of International Historical Research into Adult Education».