1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Paris, Bruno Paulin Gaston

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PARIS, BRUNO PAULIN GASTON (1839-1903), French scholar, son of Paulin Paris, v/as born at Avenay (Marne) on the 9th of August 1839. In his childhood Gaston Paris learned to appreciate the Old French romances as poems and stories, and this early impulse to the study of Romance literature was placed on a solid basis by courses of study at Bonn (1856-1857) under Friedrich Diez, at Gottingen (1857-1858) and finally at the £cole des Chartes (1858-1861). His first important work was an Etude siir le rdle de I'accent latin dans la languc franiaise (1862). The subject was developed later in his Lcttre a M. Lion Gauticr siir la versification latine rhythmique (1S66). Gaston Paris maintained that French versification was a natural development of popular Latin methods which depended on accent rather than quantity, and were as widely different from classical rules as the Low Latin was from the classical idiom. For his degree as doctor he presented a thesis on the Histoire poetique de Charlemagne (1865). He succeeded his father as professor of medieval French literature at the College de France in 1872; in 1876 he was admitted to the Academy of Inscriptions and in 1896 to the French Academy; and in 1895 he was appointed director of the College de France. Gaston Paris won a European reputation as a Romance scholar. He had learnt German methods of exact research, but besides being an accurate philologist he was a literary critic of great acumen and breadth of view, and brought a singularly clear mind to bear on his favourite study of medieval French literature. His Vie de Saint-Alexis (1872) broke new ground and provided a model for future editors of medieval texts. It included the original text and the variations of it dating from the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries. Gaston Paris contributed largely to the Histoire litteraire de la France, and with Paul Meyer published Romania, a journal devoted to the study of Romance literature. Among his other numerous works may be mentioned Les Plus anciens monuments de la langue Jranqaise (1875); a Manuel d'ancien Fran^ais (1888); an edition of the Mystere dela passion d' Arnold Cretan (1878), in collaboration with M. Gaston Raynaud; Deux red actions du roman des sept sages de Rome (1876); a translation of the Grammaire des latigues romancs {i?, ']^-!?}-]?)) of Friedrich Diez, in collaboration with MM. Brachet and Morel-Fatio. Among his works of a more popular nature are La Poisie du moyen dge (1885 and 1895); Penseurs et po'etcs (1897); Poemes et ISgendes du moyen dge (1900); Francois Villon (1901), an admirable monograph contributed to the " Grands ficrivains Franfais " series; Legendes du moyen dge (1903). His excellent summary of medieval French literature forms a volume of the Temple Primers. Gaston Paris endeared himself to a wide circle of scholars outside his own country by his unfailing urbanity and generosity. In France itself he trained at the ficole des Chartes and the College de France a band of disciples who continued the traditions of exact research that he established. Among them were: Leopold Pannier; Marius Sepet, the author of Le Drame chretien au moyen dge (1878) and of the Origines catholiques du theatre moderne (1901); Charles Joret; Alfred Morel-Fatio; Gaston Raynaud, who is responsible for various volumes of the excellent editions published by the Societe des anciens textesfranQais; Arsene Darmesteter and others. Gaston Paris died in Paris on the 6th of March 1903.

See "Hommage à Gaston Paris" (1903), the opening lecture of his successor, Joseph B^dier, in the chair of medieval literature at the College de France; A. Thomas, Essais de philologie française (1897); W. P. Ker, in the Fortnightly Review (July, 1904); M. Croiset, Notice sur Gaston Paris (1904); J. B^dier et M. Roques, Bibliographie des travaux de Gaston Paris (1904).