Stanislas Julien

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Stanislas Julien
Julien.gif
Born (1797-04-13)April 13, 1797
Orléans, France
Died February 14, 1873(1873-02-14) (aged 75)
Paris, France
Nationality French
Institutions Collège de France
Academic advisors Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat
Notable students Édouard Biot
Marquis d'Hervey-Saint-Denys

Stanislas Aignan Julien (April 13, 1797 – February 14, 1873) was a French sinologist who served as the Chair of Chinese at the Collège de France for over 40 years and was one of the most academically respected sinologists in French history. A student of Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat, Julien succeeded Rémusat upon the latter's death in 1832 and became one of the leading European scholars of China during the 19th century.

Although he was noted for his academic rigor and gifted intellect, Julien had a notoriously thorny personality and publicly feuded with most of his contemporaries, earning broad academic respect but equally broad personal dislike from those who knew him.

Biography[edit]

Born at Orléans, he studied the classics at the Collège de France, and in 1821 was appointed assistant professor of Greek. In the same year he published an edition of The Rape of Helen of Coluthus, with versions in French, Latin, English, German, Italian and Spanish. He attended the lectures of Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat on Chinese. In 1824 he published a Latin translation of a part of the works of Mencius.

Soon afterwards he translated the modern Greek odes of Kalvos under the title of La Lyre patriotique de la Grèce. In 1827 he was appointed sublibrarian to the Institut de France. In 1832 he succeeded Abel-Rémusat as professor of Chinese at the Collège de France. In 1833 he was elected a member of the Académie des Inscriptions.

Histoire et Fabrication de la Porcelaine. The characters 景德鎮陶錄 Jingdezhen Taolu are in seal script

For some years his studies had been directed towards the vernacular literature of the Chinese, bringing out translations of Hoei-lan-ki 灰闌記 (L'Histoire du cercle de craie), a drama in which occurs a scene curiously analogous to the Judgment of Solomon; and the 趙氏孤兒 Zhao shi guer [Tchao-chi kou eul], The Orphan of Zhao, or Orphan of the House Tcho.

He next turned to the Taoist writings, and translated in 1835 Le Livre des récompenses et des peines 太上感應篇 Taishang Ganying Pian. About this time the cultivation of silkworms was beginning to attract attention in France, and by order of the minister of agriculture Julien compiled, in 1837, a Résumé des principaux traits chinois sur la culture des mûriers, et l'éducation des vers-de-soie 桑蠶輯要, which was speedily translated into English, German, Italian and Russian.

He published in 1841 Discussions grammaticales sur certaines régles de position qui, en chinois, jouent le même rôle que les inflexions dans les autres langues, which he followed in 1842 by Exercices pratiques d'analyse, de syntaxe, et de lexigraphie chinoise. Meanwhile in 1839, he had been appointed joint keeper of the Bibliothèque Royale, with the special superintendence of the Chinese books, and shortly afterwards he was made administrator of the Collège de France.

In 1842 saw the publication of his translation of the 道德經 Dao De Jing. Then he turned his attention to the Buddhist literature of China, and more especially to the travels of Buddhist pilgrims to India. In order that he might better understand the references to Indian institutions and the transcriptions in Chinese of Sanskrit words and proper names, he began the study of Sanskrit, and in 1853 brought out his Voyages du pélerin Hiouen-tsang 大唐西域記 Da Tang Xi You Ji.

Six years later he published Les Avadanas, contes et apologues indiens inconnus jusqu'à ce jour, suivis de poésies et de nouvelles chinoises. For the benefit of future students he disclosed his system of deciphering Sanskrit words occurring in Chinese books in his Méthode pour déchiffrer et transcrire les noms sanscrits qui se rencontrent dans les livres chinois (1861). The work had escaped the author's observation that, since the translations of Sanskrit works into Chinese were undertaken in different parts of the empire, the same Sanskrit words were of necessity differently represented in Chinese characters in accordance with the dialectical variations. No hard and fast rule can therefore possibly be laid down for the decipherment of Chinese transcriptions of Sanskrit words.

Known for his impatience and bad temper, he had bitter controversies with his fellow sinologists. His Indian studies led to a controversy with Joseph Toussaint Reinaud. Among the many subjects to which he turned his attention were the native industries of China, producing the Histoire et fabrication de la porcelaine chinoise 景德鎮陶錄 Jingdezhen Taolu. In another volume he also published an account of the Industries anciennes et modernes de l'Empire chinois (1869), translated from native authorities.

His last work of importance was Syntaxe nouvelle de la langue Chinoise fondée sur la position des mots, suivie de deux traités sur les particules et les principaux termes de grammaire, d'une table des idiotismes, de fables, de légendes et d'apologues (1869), for many years the standard grammar for the Chinese language.

In politics Julien was imperialist, and in 1863 he was made a commander of the Légion d'honneur in recognition of the services he had rendered to literature during the Second French Empire.

In 1872 the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres established the Prix Stanislas Julien, an annual prize for a sinological work which was first awarded in 1875.

References[edit]

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.