HENRY, Victor

HENRY, Victor. Colmar, Alsace 17.8.1850 — Paris 6.2.1907. French Indologist. Professor in Paris. Son of a teacher, studied law at Strasbourg (licencié 1869) and Dijon (dr. 1872). Planning a career in civil service he worked as teacher in Lille in 1872-80 and at Lille municipal library in 1880-83. As a scholar he was self-taught, but his dissertation at Paris in 1883 brought him the first academic post as chargé d’un cours de grammaire comparative et de philologie classique (maître des conferences et professeur adjoint) at Faculté des letters, Lille. In 1883-89 there, then in the same position (chargé du cours) at Sorbonne in Paris, where he taught comparative grammar and Veda (Sanskrit was Lévi’s charge). When Lévi moved to Collège de France in 1894 VH became Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative Grammar at Sorbonne (as Bergaigne’s successor). Died suddenly at home in angina pectoris.

As a linguist VH debuted with American studies, but soon moved to comparative IE studies. He was a many-sided linguist, interested in Sanskrit, MIA, IE, classical and Germanic languages, Celtic, general linguistics and dialectology. In 1882 he gave proof of the IE character of Pashto. He was one of the first specialists of the Atharvaveda (translation of AV 7–13 and Magie) and of Vedic ritual (Agniṣṭoma). In Celtology he compiled an etymological dictionary of modern Breton (1900), in dialectology a study of the Alsace German of his childhood. In MIA he wrote studies on Pāli and on Apabhraṁśa declension (MSL 14, 1904). He was many-sided, rather superficial, tried to find grand lines. “Il n’était pas l’homme des recherches de détail”, but still not too careless even with these details. He did not strive for new finds (like unedited texts), but rather systematized and developed further material procured by others.

Publications: Note sur les possessions anglaises et françaises de la Sénégambie. 1876; Esquisse d’une grammaire raisonnée de la langue aléoute. 1879; …Innok. 1876 (Eskimo); Contribution à l’étude des origines du décasyllable roman. 1882; Précis de grammaire comparée du grec et du latin. 356 p. P. 1888; Précis de grammaire comparée de l’anglais et l’allemand. 1893.

– “Les trois racines du verbe être dand les langues indo-européennes”, Mém. de la Soc. des Sc. de Lille. 1878; La distribution géographique des languages. 1882; Esquisses morphologiques. 1-3. 1882-90; Notes étymologiques. 1886.

– “Études afghanes”, RL 14, 1881, 327-372 & 15, 1882, 113-161.

edited & transl.: Trente stances du Bhâminî-Vilâsa accompagné des fragments du commentaire de Maṇirâma. P. 1885; translated: Le Sceau de Râkchasa. P. 1888 (Mudrārākṣasa); Agnimitra et Mâlavikâ. 12+110 p. P. 1889.

with A. Bergaigne: Manuel du sanscrit védique. Précis de grammaire, chrestomathie, lexique. 1890.

translated: Les hymnes Rohitas — livre XIII de l’Atharva-Veda. 12+56 p. P. 1891; Le livre VII de l’Atharva-Veda. P. 1892; Les livres VIII et IX de l’Atharva-Veda. 12+164 p. P. 1894; Les livres X–XII de l’Atharva-Veda. 1896.

edited: Quarante hymnes du Rig-Veda , traduits par A. Bergaigne. P. 1895.

– “Cruelle énigme”, Actes du 10e OC Genève 1894, 2:1, 1895, 43-50; “Mudgala ou l’hymne du marteau (suite d’énigmes védiques)”, JA 9:6, 1895, 516-548; “R.V. 3, 49, 1 en tant que contribution à l’éclaircissement de l’hymne du marteau (10, 102)”, JA 9:11, 1898, 329-331; “Le triangle et le carreau (R.V. 1, 152, 2)”, 12e OC Rome 1899, 1, 1901, 5-17; “Physique védique”, JA 10:6, 1905, 385-409; “Soma et Haoma, le breuvage d’immortalité”, Conférénces au Musée Guimet 20, 1906, 51-80.

Précis de grammaire pâlie. P. 1894, 2nd ed. 1904; Eléments de sanscrit classique. 16+284 p. P.É.F.E.O. 1. P. 1902.

L’antithèse Védique et les ressources qu’elle offre à l’exegèse moderne pour l’interprétation du Véda. 1898.

– “Bouddhisme et positivisme”, RHR. 43, 1901, 314-324; Les littératures de l’Inde. 1904; La magie dans l’Inde antique. 286 p. P. 1904; Le Parsisme. 1905/07; Soma et haoma. 1907.

with W. Caland: L’Agniṣṭoma. 1906-07.

a great number of articles, in JA, MSL, RL, Le Muséon, JS, Revue crit., etc. Also wrote much on classical philology, comparative IE studies and American Indian languages.

Sources: *Charle, Les professeurs de la Faculté des lettres. 1. 197?; A. Meillet, BSL 14:2, 1907, ccxxiv-ccxxxi; *P. E. Pavolini, GSAI 19, 1906, 409f.; *C. Puech, Lex. gramm. 1996; 406f.; La Grande Encyclopédie 19, 189?; briefly in RHR 55, 1907, 138f.; Wikipedia (French version with photo).

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