The Folk-Lore Journal/Volume 7/Congress of Folklorists at Paris

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THE first Congress of Folklorists has been a decided success, for pleasure as well as usefulness. It began in Paris at the Trocadero on the 29th of July. There were present French, Spaniards, Italians, Russians, Poles, Finns, Swedes, Americans, and Chinese. The regrettable absence of Germans may be better understood than that England should be only represented by Transatlantic cousins.

The officers chosen for the Congress were: President, M. Charles Ploix; Vice-Presidents, Bruyère, de Rialle, Leland, Dragomanor, Nutt, Prato, Nyrop Tcheng ki Tong; Secretary, Sebillot; Assistant-Secretaries, Blemont, Rosières, Andrews, Krohn. After some formal work, the Society were shown by Dr. Hamy, the curator, the excellent French Ethnological and Anthropological Museum, containing much of interest in our studies.

The subsequent meetings were at the Mairie of the Sixth Arrondissement, near St. Sulpice. There was considerable discussion on the origin and diffusion of legends, mythological and popular.

Notwithstanding the arguments of MM. Ploix and Cesquin, the general sense of the speakers appeared to favour anthropological and polygenetic explanations.

M. Krohn described the extensive work done in Finland, presenting a collection of printed volumes on the subject. Considerable progress appears to have been made there in the analysis of Folklore.

The questions of classification, tabulation, and analysis were referred to a committee. There was hardly enough time to consider it thoroughly; many members had no definite views. The scheme of this Society was pressed by Mr. J. B. Andrews with apparent approval by the most part. Another system of analysis was suggested by M. Ploix, having exceedingly minute divisions and subdivisions. M. Cordier was to make a report. It was strongly urged that the English proposal should be at least described, if not actually recommended.

It was proposed with general approbation that Congresses should be regularly held every two or three years, the next in London.

The members of the Congress were hospitably entertained, both officially and privately. Prince Roland Bonaparte gave them a sumptuous dinner, while they listened to the wild music of the Roumanian gypsies. There were official receptions at the Ministries, a most interesting international Folklore concert at the Salle de Sociétés Savantes, Quartier Latin, under the scholarly direction of M. Jules Tiersot, of the Conservatoire, and a Mother Goose’s dinner at the historic Café Corazza, in the Palais Royal, where the excellence of the menu was surpassed by the good humour and enjoyment of the guests. Many a song was sung; not the least amongst those applauded was M. Leland’s gypsy ballad with the finger chorus, in which all joined.

In fact, the Congress passed off remarkably well. All departed with, a confirmed sense of the importance of their work, with a vigorous impulse to continue working, and a desire to meet again.