A French philologist, son of Paulin, born at Avenay (Marne), 9 August, 1839; died at Cannes, 6 March, 1903. After graduating from the Collège Rollin, Paris, he studied at the Universities of Göttingen and Bonn, where he was a pupil of the celebrated philologist Diez. On his return, while taking courses at the Ecole des Chartes, he studied law and literature at the University of Paris, obtaining the degree of doctor in literature in 1865. He taught for a while French grammar in a private school, and was appointed professor of languages at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, and soon after was made director of that section of the school, a position he retained till his death. In 1872, he succeeded his father as professor of medieval literature at the Collège de France and was made director of the college in 1895. A year later, he was elected to the French Academy, taking the seat made vacant by the death of Alexandre Dumas, Jr. For more than thirty years he was regarded as the highest authority in France on philology of the Romance languages. By his vast erudition, his scientific methods, and his patient researches in that new field, he made his name famous throughout Europe. His lectures were attended by enthusiastic crowds gathered from all parts of the world. His salon, where he used to receive every Sunday his friends, pupils, and distinguished foreign scholars, was one of the most celebrated in Paris. Because of his sojourn in Protestant universities and the influence of Renan, he lost for a time his religious faith, but towards the end of his life he returned to the sentiments of his childhood and was buried in the Church. Among his numerous publications, without mentioning his contributions to the "Revue critique" and "Romania", which he founded, the former in 1865, the latter in 1872, the chief to be cited are: "Etude sur le rôle de l'accent latin dans la langue française" (Paris, 1862); "De Pseudo-Turpino" (Paris, 1865), a Latin thesis for the doctorate; "Histoire poétique de Charlemagne" (Paris, 1866); "La vie de saint Alexis" (texts of the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries); "Dissertation critique sur le poème latin Ligurius" (Paris, 1873); "Le petit Poucet, la grande Ourse" (Paris, 1875); "Les contes orientaux dans la littérature du moyen âge" (Paris, 1875); "Les miracles de Notre-Dame par Personnages" (Paris, 1877); "Le mystère de la Passion par Arnoul Gréban" (1878);" Deux Rédactions du roman des sept sages de Rome" (Paris, 1879); "Aucassin et Nicolette" (Paris, 1878); "Poètes et Penseurs" (Paris, 1893) etc.
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