KARPELÈS, Suzanne

KARPELÈS, Suzanne. Paris 17.3.1890 — Pondicherry 1968. French Indologist (Buddhist Scholar). Her father (a Greek [Jewish?] merchant living in France) imported indigo from India, she spent part of her early life in Calcutta (?). After studies in Paris under Lévi, Foucher and Finot she joined É.F.E.O. in 1922 and came 1923 to Hanoi, where she started research on Pāli texts. In 1923 visited Cambodia and Thailand, in 1924 Angkor. In 1925-36 conservatrice of Bibliothèque royale in Phnom Penh. In 1930 she was among the founders of the Buddhist Institutes of Cambodia and Laos and became Secretary to both. From 1936 Secretary to É.F.E.O., in 1941 dismissed because of the racial laws. After the war again at É.F.E.O. in Hanoi, 1946-48 in India. At retirement in the 1950s moved to Pondichéry. Active in Buddhist organizations. Her sister, Andrée K. (1885–1956, later Högman), was a friend of R. Tagore.

Using different sources the two Wikipedias give different information about her background. In English version she was born in Hungarian Jewish family and grew up in Pindicherry. French follows D.O.L.F. with Greek father and Calcutta. For her death data.bnf.fr gives Vellore 7.11.1968.

Publications: “Lokeśvaraśatakam ou cent strophes en l’honneur su seigneur du monde, par Vajradatta, éd. & trad.”, JA 11:14, 1919, 357-465 (diss., ed. in Sanskrit & Tibetan); “Six contes pālies”, Revue indochinoise 1924:1-2, 1-30 & 3-4, 205-234 & 5-6, 323-350 & 7-8, 11-44 (tr. from the Dhammapada Commentary)

– “L’édition cambodgienne du Tripiṭaka bouddhique”, CRAI 1936, 180-183, other articles.

Sources: J. Filliozat, BEFEO 56, 1969, 1-3; P. Singaravélou, D.O.L.F. 535; *Art. As. 3, 1956, 143f.; Chercheurs d’Asie 128f.; Wikipedia (more details in French version).

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