EDGERTON, Franklin

EDGERTON, Franklin. Le Mars, Iowa 24.7.1885 — Laramie, Wyoming 7.12. 1963. U.S. Indologist. Professor in New Haven. Son of a civil servant, Charles Eugene E. and Annie Benedict White, his younger brothers were the lawyer Henry White E. (1888–1970) and the Egyptologist William Franklin E. (1893–1970). Though born in the West, the family was from N.Y. and soon returned to the East. Educated at public schools of Binghampton, Ithaca and Washington, then at Cornell University (A.B. 1905). Further studies in 1906-07 at München (under E. Kuhn & R. Simon) and Jena (Delbrück & Cappeller). In 1907-09 Fellow of Johns Hopkins, 1909 Ph.D. there (under Bloomfield). In 1909-13 Assistant, Instructor, and Johnston Scholar in Sanskrit and Comparative Philology at Johns Hopkins. In 1910 he spent several months in Russia learning the language. In 1914-25 he was Assistant Professor and 1925-26 Professor of Sanskrit at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, then moved to Yale, where he was Salisbury Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative Philology in 1926-46 and Sterling Professor in 1946-53. Emeritus 1953. In 1953-54 Holkar Visiting Professor of Indology at Banaras Hindu University, other visits to India in 1926-27, 1938, and 1956. He was twice married (second wife —> Eleanor E.) and had one son from the first marriage. After his retirement he moved to Laramie, Wyoming. He died after long illness.

As a student of Bloomfield FrE started his career with Vedic philology, and all the time his main interest lied in language. Another early interest was the narrative literature in Sanskrit. During his first visit to India he became interested in Mīmāmsa philosophy and studied it with a pandit in Poona. In 1938 he worked again in Poona, on the critical edition of the Mahābhārata (after Winternitz’s death he was the only foreigner allowed to participate in this work). His main work, however, was the BHS grammar and dictionary, which he began to prepare in the 1930s (several articles), and which revolutionized the conceptions of Buddhist Sanskrit and its textual criticism. In addition, he also taught and studied on comparative IE linguistics. Among his students were Bobrinskoy and Emeneau.

Publications: diss. The k-suffixes of Indo-Iranian. 1. The k-suffixes in the Veda and Avesta. MS. of c. 100 p. Baltimore 1909, publ. in JAOS 31, 1911, 93-150, 296-342; a great number of articles and reviews in JAOS, AJPh, ABORI, KZ, Lan­guage, Amer. Hist. Review, etc.

– “A Hindu book of tales: The Vikrama-carita”, AJPh 33, 1912, 249-284; “The Hindu beast fable in the light of recent studies”, AJPh 36, 1915, 44-69, 253-279.

edited: “The Kashmirian Atharva Veda, book six”, JAOS 34, 1915, 374-411.

The Pañcatantra Reconstructed. 1-2. 409+406 p. A.O.S. 2-3. New Haven 1924 (ed. & transl.); Devanāgarī ed. of the text Poona 1927-30; translation in German by L. Alsdorf. 127 p. 1952; articles on the Pañcatantra in JAOS 38, 1918, 273-293 & 40, 1920, 21-257; ZII 7, 1929, 184-188 & 9, 1933-34, 331-334.

– “The Meaning of Sāṅkhya and Yoga”, AJPh 45, 1924, 1-46.

Bhagavad Gita or Song of the Blessed One. 100 p. Chicago 1925; The Bhagavad Gita translated and interpreted. 1-2. 15+190+180 p. H.O.S. 38-39. Cambridge, Mass. 1944 (including text, commentary, his own interpretation and E. Arnold’s verse rendering); translation and notes republ. 202 p. N.Y. 1964.

Vikrama’s Adventures or the Thirty-Two Tales of the Throne. A collection of stories about King Vikrama, as told by the Thirty-Two Statuettes that supported his throne. Edited in four different recensions of the Sanskrit original and translated. 1-2. 106+266 & 12+369 p. H.O.S. 26-27. Cambridge, Mass. 1926.

– “The latest work on the Kauṭilīya Arthaśāstra”, JAOS 48, 1928, 289-322 (Meyer).

Mīmāṁsā nyāya prakāśa, or Apadevī: a treatise on the Mīmāṁsā system. Transl. with an introd., transliterated text, and glossarial index. 308 p. New Haven 1929.

with M. Bloomfield (d.) and (vol. 3) M. B. Emeneau: Vedic Variants. 1-3. 340+ 570+513 p. Philadelphia 1930-34.

The Elephant-Lore of the Hindus. The Elephant-Sport (Matanga-Lila) of Nila­kantha. Translated with notes. 19+129 p. New Haven 1931.

– “Sievers’s law and IE. weak-grade vocalism”, Language 10, 1934, 235-265; “The Indo-European semivowels”, Language 19, 1943, 83-124.

critical edition: Sabhāparvan. Mahābhārata Vol. 2. 67+517 p. Poona 1944.

Sanskrit Historical Phonology, a simplified outline for the use of beginners in Sanskrit. 31 p. Suppl. to JAOS 66:1. New Haven 1946; rev. 2nd ed. 1957.

Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary. 1-2. 239+627 p. New H. 1953.

Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Reader. 9+76 p. New Haven 1953; Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Language and Literature. 88 p. Banaras 1954.

translated with Eleanor Edgerton: Kalidasa, The Cloud Messenger. 87 p. Ann Arbor 1964 (with text).

translated: The Beginnings of Indian Philosophy. Selections from the Rig Veda, Atharva Veda, Upanishads, and Mahabharata. 362 p. Cambridge Mass. 1965.

Sources: M.B. Emeneau, Language 40, 1964, 111-123 (with bibliography); *Emeneau, JOIB 13, 1963-64, 297f.; A. Hahn, JAOS 85, 1965, 3-8; *S. Insler, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 266f.; *N.H. Samtani, VIJ 2, 1964, 167-173 & 377-385.; Who Was Who in Am. 4; Dir. of Am. Sch. 1st ed. 1942, 2nd ed. 1951, 4th ed. 196?; Wikipedia briefly.


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