DESGRANGES

DESGRANGES, Jean-François (Pouillon-Desgranges). Bonneval (Eure-et-Loir) 30.9.1765 — Paris 8.11.1848 (or 1851). French Former Priest and Teacher, the author of the first French Sanskrit grammar. Because of missing information and misinformation (he is often claimed to be an officer), this was very hard nut to crack, only solved through the valuable help of M. Ravel. Son of a tradesman. Originally a Catholic priest (in 1791 or 93 parish priest in Trizay-lès-Bonneval), then an agent national under the French Revolution. In 1795 he is called an alumnus of École normale, having good knowledge of mathematics and physics. Then many years a poor teacher of mathematics in Paris (where he probably learned Sanskrit). Married 1794 Marie Catherine Breton, one son.

On the title page he is called “membre honoraire de la Société royale des antiquaires de France et ancien professeur de mathématiques”, and he was said to be among the first students of Chézy (J. Mohl, Annales de philosophie chrétienne 3:7 (27), 1843, 300). In his grammar he used Carey and Wilkins as his principal sources. According to Alfred de Vigny in a letter of recommendation he was octogenarian and had prepared his work for 30 years. The voluminous work had never much influence. N.B. He must not be confused (as is often done) with Alix Desgranges (1793–1854), a former interpreter in Levant (in 1812-31) and Professor of Turkish at Collège de France (in 1835-42). Further, Rev. Augustus Des Granges worked as missionary in Visakhapatnam in 1806.

Publications: Grammaire sanscrit-française. 1-2. 42+588+544 p. in 4° P. 1845-47.

Two articles, on customs and speech of Bonneval, in Bulletin de la Société Royale des Antiquaires de France.

Sources: Information kindly offered by Maxime Ravel referring to http://lakanal-1795.huma-num.fr/wiki/Desgranges_Jean-François, to https://classiques-garnier.com/correspondance-tome-iv-1839-1843-index-des-correspondants-en.html?displaymode=full and to https://www.perche-gouet.net/histoire/rues.php?commune=28051-01&rue=742; the letter is quoted in J.-P- Lassalle, Alfred de Vigny. 2010. On Alix D. see F. Marouis in D.B.F. 10, 1965. Missionary briefly mentioned by R.S. Mantena, The Origins of Modern Historiography in India. N.Y. 2012, 153.

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