BURNOUF, Eugène

BURNOUF, Eugène. Paris 8.4. (or 12.8.?) 1801 — Paris 28.5.1852. French Indologist. Professor in Paris. Son of —> J.-L. Burnouf and uncle of —> É.-L. B. Studied classical languages under his father and from 1822 at École de Chartes (licencié ès lettres et en droit 1824). At the same time attended, together with his father, —> Chézy’s lectures, but soon disagreed with the quarrelsome Chézy and continued on his own. After Chézy’s death he became his successor as the Professor of Sanskrit at Collège de France in 1833. Member of the A.I.B.L. in 1832, 1852 its sécrétaire perpetuel. Married, his daughter Laure married historien Léopold Delisle (1826–1910) and edited her father’s letters and her grandfather’s memoirs.

EB was a many-sided and able scholar, one of the greatest Indo-Iranists of his time. Together with —> Lassen he published the first account of Pāli and later founded the study of Buddhist Sanskrit literature. A pioneer work was also the unfinished edition and translation of the Bhāgavatapurāṇa, continued by —> Hauvette-Besnault. He proved the genuineness of the Avesta on philological grounds (Rask on linguistic), introduced the Sanskrit versions of it, and advanced the decipherment of Old Persian cuneiform writing. Although he had no time to write much on it, he was one of the first Rigvedic scholars, lectured regularly on the text and prompted Max Müller to start the edition of the RV. This way he can also be considered as a father of the Vedic philology in Europe. He was also interested in Tamil.

On the other hand, he was too keen to take new subjects without delving deep enough into any, and many of his studies remained thus somewhat superficial. But unlike many of his contemporaries he really knew Sanskrit well, and was also a good and much esteemed teacher. Students from many countries swarmed to his lectures. Among his students were e.g. Ampère, Ariel, Barthélemy Saint-Hilaire, Baudry, Bréal, Fauche, Foucaux, Hauvette-Besnault, Lancereau, Pavie, Regnier, Renan, Saulcy, among foreigners Bardelli, Goldstücker, Gorresio, Kellgren, Max Müller, Salisbury, Westergaard.

Now EB is probably best remembered for his work on Buddhism. His Introduction was the first useful account of Buddhism, and also contained many trans­lations. A sequel to it is the appendix (of 400 pages, yet unfinished) to the Lotus Sūtra, and now Pāli sources, too, are noted. He coined the terms southern and northern Buddhism and, together with —> Abel-Rémusat, founded the French school.

Publications: “Le Serpent et les Grenouilles, table trad. de l’Hitopadesa”, JA 2, 1823, 150-154; “Analyse et extrait du Dévi Mahatmyam”, JA 4, 1824, 24-32; “Sur le Bhoûmikhandam, section du Padmapourâna”, JA 6, 1825, 3-15 & 95-106; “Notice sur un ms. du Shrî-Bhâgavata-Pourâna, envoyé par M. Duvaucel à la Société asiatique”, JA 7, 1825, 46-60, 193-205.

– “Sur un usage remarquable de l’infinitive samskrit”, JA 5, 1824, 120-124 (śak- + inf.); “Discours sur la langue et la littérature sanscrite, prononcé au Collège de France”, JA 2:11, 1833, 251-272.

Review of Colebrooke’s On the Philosophy of the Hindus, JA 6, 1825, 165-179; Haughton’s Manu, JA 9, 1826, 243-255; Stirling’s Orissa (As. Res. 15, 1825), JA 10, 1827, 119-125, 236-251; Dursch’s Ghaṭakarpara, JA 2:3, 1829, 224-236; Tod’s Annals and Ant. of Rajasthan, JA 2:4, 1829, 374-389.

with C. Lassen: Essai sur le Pali, ou langue sacrée de la presqu’île au-delà du Gange. 224 p. P. 1826; supplement by EB alone, JA 9, 1826, 257-274.

– “Mémoire sur quelques noms de l’île de Ceylan, et particulièrement sur celui de Taprobane, sous lequel elle était connue des anciens”, JA 8, 1826, 129-149; “Recherches sur la Géographie Ancienne de Ceylan”, JA 5:9, 1857, 1-116.

with Geringer (eds.): L’Inde française ou collection de dessins représentant les divinités, temples, costumes, meubles &c. 1827-1835.

– “Lettre … sur l’alphabet tamoul”, JA 2:1, 1828, 257-290; “Seconde lettre … sur quelques dénominations géographiques du Drâvida ou pays des Tamouls”, JA 2:2, 1828, 240-277.

Vendidad-Sadé, l’un des livres de Zoroastre. 10 fasc. 561 p. P. 1829-43 (ed., transl. & comm.); Commentaire sur le Yaçna, l’un des livres religieux des Parses. 1-2. 153+592+196 & ??? p. P. 1833-35 (Yasna 1 in Avesta and Sanskrit with com­mentary); Études sur la langue et sur les textes zends. 429 p. P. 1850 (originally publ. in JA 1840-1846).

– “Observations sur la partie de la grammaire comparative de M. F. Bopp, qui se rapporte à la langue zende”, JS 1834, also sep. 48 p. P. 1833; Mémoire sur deux inscriptions cunéiformes trouvées près d’Hamadan. 200 p. P. 1836.

edited & translated: Le Bhágavata Purána ou histoire poétique de Krîshna. 1-2. 177+330, 15+383 p. P. 1840-44 (continued by Hauvette-Besnault and Roussel).

Introduction à l’histoire du Bouddhisme indien. 650 p. P. 1844, 2nd ed. P. 1876.

Saddharma Pundarîka ou Lotus de la bonne foi. 897 p. P. 1852 (translated).

Articles and reviews in JA and JS.

L. Delisle (ed.), Choix de Lettres d’Eugène Burnouf, 1825–1852. Suivi d’une biographie. 585 p. P. 1891; Papiers d’Eugène Burnouf conservés à la Bibliothèque nationale. Ed. par L. Feer. 197 p. P. 1899 (cf. JA 9:9, 1897, 508-524).

Sources: *Barthélemy St.-Hilaire, JS 1852, 473-487 & 561-575; *[J.-D.] Guigniaut, Funerailles d’E.B. Discours de M.G. au nom de l’Université et de l’Ecole normale. P. 1852; *Naudet, “Notice sur la vie et les ouvrages de MM. Burnouf, père et fils”, MAIBL 20:1, 1861, 285-337; *Vivien de Saint-Martin & de Wailly, Nouv. Ann. Voy. 134, 1852, 225-237.

*D. Baggioni, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 148-150; *J. Barthélemy St.-Hilaire, E.B., ses travaux et sa correspondence. 14+158 p. P. 1891 (cf. Bezzenberger in BB 19, 1893, 162-164); *È. Gran-Aymerich & F. Olivier-Utard, D.O.L.F.160-162; A. S. Kulasuriya, “Burnouf and Ceylon”, The Ceylon Historical Journal 1:4, 1952, 351-357; J.-Cl. Muller, “Briefedition als Briefzensur. Kritische Anmerkungen zur 1891 edierten Briefwechsel Eugène Bournouf [sic!] – Christian Lassen”, K.D. Dutz, Speculum historiographiae linguisticae. Münster 1989, 385-394; M. Prévost, D.B.F. 7, 1956, 703f.; Windisch 123-240; *JBRAS 4, 1852, 285-288; *Bibliography and life in Choix de lettres. 1891, 557ff.; briefly in French Wikipédia.

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