1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/La Villemarqué, Théodore Claude Henri, Vicomte Hersart de
|←Lavigerie, Charles Martial Allemand||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 16
La Villemarqué, Théodore Claude Henri, Vicomte Hersart de
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LA VILLEMARQUÉ THÉODORE CLAUDE HENRI, Vicomte Hersart de (1815-1895), French philologist and man of letters, was born at Keransker, near Quimperlé, on the 6th of July 1815. He was descended from an old Breton family, which counted among its members a Hersart who had followed Saint Louis to the Crusade, and another who was a companion in arms of Du Guesclin. La Villemarqué devoted himself to the elucidation of the monuments of Breton literature. Introduced in 1851 by Jacob Grimm as correspondent to the Academy of Berlin, he became in 1858 a member of the Academy of Inscriptions. His works include: Contes populaires des anciens Bretons (1842), to which was prefixed an essay on the origin of the romances of the Round Table; Essai stir l'histoire de la langue bretonne (1837); Poèmes des bardes bretons du sixième siècle (1850); La Légende celtique en Irelande, en Cambrie et en Bretagne (1859). The popular Breton songs published by him in 1839 as Barzaz Breiz were considerably retouched. La Villemarqué's work has been superseded by the work of later scholars, but he has the merit of having done much to arouse popular interest in his subject. He died at Keransker on the 8th of December 1895.
On the subject of the doubtful authenticity of Barzaz Breiz, see Luzel's Preface to his Chansons populaires de la Basse-Bretagne, and, for a list of works on the subject, the Revue Celtique (vol. v.).