1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bréal, Michel Jules Alfred
BRÉAL, MICHEL JULES ALFRED (1832–), French philologist, was born on the 26th of March 1832, at Landau in Rhenish Bavaria, of French parents. After studying at Weissenburg, Metz and Paris, he entered the École Normale in 1852. In 1857 he went to Berlin, where he studied Sanskrit under Bopp and Weber. On his return to France he obtained an appointment in the department of oriental MSS. at the Bibliothèque Impériale. In 1864 he became professor of comparative grammar at the Collège de France, in 1875 member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-lettres, in 1879 inspecteur-général of public instruction for higher schools until the abolition of the office in 1888. In 1890 he was made commander of the Legion of Honour. Among his works, which deal mainly with mythological and philological subjects, may be mentioned: L'Étude des origines de la religion Zoroastrienne (1862), for which a prize was awarded him by the Académie des Inscriptions; Hercule et Cacus (1863), in which he disputes the principles of the symbolic school in the interpretation of myths; Le Mythe d'Oedipe (1864); Les Tables Eugubines (1875); Mélanges de mythologie et de linguistique (2nd. ed., 1882); Leçons de mots (1882,1886), Dictionnaire étymologique latin (1885) and Grammaire latine (1890). His Essai de Sémantique (1897), on the signification of words, has been translated into English by Mrs H. Cust with preface by J. P. Postgate. His translation of Bopp's Comparative Grammar (1866 – 1874), with introductions, is highly valued. He has also written pamphlets on education in France, the teaching of ancient languages, and the reform of French orthography. In 1906 he published Pour mieux connaître Homère.