« VorigeDoorgaan »
191-195 Treatises on patois and argot.
199-204 Spanish dialects.
205-209 Slavic and Teutonic dialects.
226-284 Macaronic prose and verse (Nodier had an abiding interest in this subject).
309-344 The works of Meschinot, Molinet and other Rhéto
riqueurs, including Melin de St. Gelais.
351-362 Marot (a remarkable collection of works and attributions).
370 Héroet, Parfaicte Amye.
394 Despériers' Works.
The works of Louise Labé.
528-548 Collections of chansons and related works.
600-645 Dialect poetry.
676-685 Italian dialects.
"Facéties," under which, strangely enough, are included numerous editions of Rabelais (Nos. 858-867).
Is the catalogue complete? Nothing is said of Nodier's copy of Malherbe's commentary on Desportes, of which Ste.-Beuve later got possession.17 Furthermore, one is puzzled to note, in a large list of over 1200 numbers, the absence of Raynouard (whose work, as we have seen, Nodier reviewed), of Marie de France, published by Rocquefort, 1820, of other Old French texts edited at the time.18 Only Hélinand Vers sur la mort (sic) appears under No. 1218. How much did Nodier really know of Old French? When Larat talks of his interest in archaism, we must not be deceived, for to one contemporary, at least (George Sand), archaism meant sixteenth century French, including perhaps the language of Villon. But, in the absence of a series of detailed studies on the vocabulary of early nineteenth century writers, it is futile to discuss what archaism may have signified to many of them.
To return to the matter at hand. The library of the Arsénal, public and private collections, had a reputation. Philologists knew and used it, philologists from the humble Johanneau, who borrowed
17 Brunot, La doctrine de Malherbe, p. 88.
18 The absence of Chrétien is plain, in view of the fact that the Holland edition is of 1847, according to Voretsch.
the Rabelais for his Variorum edition,19 to Wilhelm v. Humboldt,20 Lacroix, Paulin Paris and others.
All this rich experience derived from the period in which he lived, from his personal contacts, whatever their imperfections, from his rich library, all this could not after all fail to produce something definite in a being as intelligent as Nodier undoubtedly was. In detail, as we have seen, it is an imperfect product with which we have to deal. Yet he formulated certain general principles, and these we shall now take up, letting the quotations speak 21 for themselves:
First, as to patois:
Tout homme qui n'a pas soigneusement exploré les patois de sa langue, ne la sait qu'à demi.
Cited by Dauzat (La languae française d'aujourd'hui, p. 193):
aucune langue ne mourra de mort légale et juridique, en face d'un lycée, gorrottée, baîllonnée, plastronée d'un écriteau de condemnation barbouillé sur le pupitre d'un pédant! Jamais un recteur, assisté de deux cuistres, ne la jettera dans l'éternité, au nom du roi et de la justice! Les langues sont plus vivaces; on ne les tue pas. Laissez donc les patois, Messieurs de Cahors.22
Second, as to the restoration of obsolete terms:
La destinée de ces expressions tient surtout à la manière plus ou moins heureuse dont elles sont employées par les écrivains; il n'appartient qu'au talent de les rajeunir, qu'au génie de les revivifier.23
Il n'appartient à personne d'arrêter irrévocablement les limites d'une langue et de marquer le point où il devient impossible de rien ajouter à ses richesses. Voltaire, pour qui la nôtre étoit si opulente et si féconde, l'accuse d'être une gueuse fière à qui il faut faire l'aumône malgré elle. J'avoue que je me suis souvent étonné de la voir exclure tel mot qu'elle
10 Revue des études rabelaisiennes, 1907, p. 452.
20 Salomon, op. cit.
21 Though many of these points are discussed by Larat (loc. cit.), no quotations are given in extenso. Wherever Larat is specifically mentioned, this will mean that the exact citation is there given.
22" Comment les patois furent détruits en France," in Bulletin du bibliophile, 1, No. 14. Cited by Larat, p. 196.
23 Journal des savants, 1822, p. 182. In the same journal, in April of the preceding year, he had reviewed, with a passionate plea for its acceptance, a "prospectus or program for the restoration of old words. The topic of archaism in Nodier is considered by Larat, p. 162.
ne peut remplacer que par une périphrase languissante, et le Dictionnaire que je soumets au public en renferme quelques-unes de ce genre." "
The striking point in his opinion is that, while he is favorable to the enrichment of the language by the restoration of old terms, he is violently opposed to neologism; witness the Diatribe du docteur Néophobus.
Note the resemblance to a most interesting contemporary:
... la langue française n'est point fixée et ne se fixera pas. L'esprit humain est toujours en marche, ou si l'on veut, en mouvement, et les langues avec lui" (Préface de Cromwell, p. 57, ed. Hetzel). "C'est donc en vain qu'on voudrait pétrifier la mobile physionomie de notre idiome sous une forme donnée. C'est en vain que vos Josué littéraires crient à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se fixent, c'est qu'elles meurent” (Ibid., p. 58).
The works that deal with Nodier from the linguistic point of view mention his love for the archaic, for the humble patois, his hatred for neologism; we may go one step farther and show that his program parallels that of the Romantic revolt which, it will be noted, likewise favored archaism and dialect but reacted against neologism.25
Now did Nodier influence the Romantic school in its language programs? The question is a complex one as a glance at the first part of this paper will reveal. It is a question of a great linguistic movement rather than of any one man. Yet two things may well be mentioned: First, Nodier was the type of man who amassed facts in order to deal them out in the manner of a largesse; second, the fact that by 1827 Nodier was in a position to contribute much, linguistically, to the group with which he was in contact. University of Missouri.
24 Preface to the Dictionnaire des onomatopées, 2nd ed., 1828. 25 L. Petit de Julleville, Histoire de la langue et de la litt. française, VIII, 730 (Brunot).
TO THE EDITOR OF STUDIES IN PHILOLOGY,
Somebody, probably the author himself, has been so good as to send me a pamphlet bearing title, "A New Study of Shakspere's Will," by Samuel A. Tannenbaum (New York), which purports to be "Reprinted from Studies in Philology, Volume XXIII. Augmented with Three Pages of Notes and Additions."
Mr. S. A. Tannenbaum is, I presume, a "Doctor of Medicine," as I find the initials, "M. D." after his name on the cover of another pamphlet published by him which I happen to possess, but in that pamphlet to which I have already alluded he talks to us not concerning medicine but rather as an authority upon the law of England. Now with reference to "A New Study of Shakspere's Will" I shall have a good deal to say in another place and at a future time, but as I know that the space, which I think in common fairness I am entitled to ask the Editor of Studies in Philology to grant me, is strictly limited, I will now confine myself to one point only, which I will treat as briefly as possible.
In the year 1924 I published, through the good offices of Mr. Cecil Palmer, a book entitled "The Shakespeare Signatures and 'Sir Thomas More,'" wherein I naturally had some comments to make concerning the will of William Shakspere of Stratford-uponAvon, which bears date March 25, 1616, and also concerning the law of England with regard to wills as it existed at that time; and, inter alia, I wrote as follows (p. 50): "Wills of land were required to be in writing, but it was sufficient if the will was put in writing by the testator, or another with his privity and direction, without any other execution. . . . No particular form was required for a will. Thus notes or memoranda, written from the testator's mouth by a physician or scrivener, were good if afterwards executed."
Dr. Tannenbaum quotes these words, at p. 128 of his pamphlet, but for some reason or another, he inverts the order of the sentences, placing the one commencing "Wills of land were required to be in writing" after, instead of before, that commencing "No particular form was required for a will." He then throws the words, "without any other execution," into italics, and tells his
readers, in a note, that they "embody an inexcusable error in a lawyer," because "it was the execution' of a will-the fulfilment of certain legal requirements-that made it a will."
Now I am a barrister of, unfortunately, very long standing, having been called to the Bar of England, as a member of the Middle Temple, after having gone through the mill of legal education, as long ago as 1876, and I am happy to say I enjoyed a very considerable amount of practice up to the time when, for reasons of my own, I retired from active legal work; but now, alas, any professional reputation which I once had must be taken as of no account. As "a lawyer" I stand pilloried. As "a lawyer" I have been guilty of "an inexcusable error "-according to Mr. Samuel A. Tannenbaum, M. D.!
But here, adopting the formula made use of by Sir John Duke Coleridge, when, as Attorney General, he was cross-examining the claimant in the famous "Tichborne Case," I would ask my censor, "Should you be surprised to hear" that the words which you say embody an inexcusable error in a lawyer" are not my words at all, but just a verbatim quotation from "Comyns's Digest," which I had omitted to distinguish by quotation marks? 1
Possibly Dr. Tannenbaum may not be familiar with "Comyns's Digest." It was the work of "the Rt. Hon. Sir John Comyns, Knt." described on his title-page as "Late Lord Chief Baron of H. M. Court of Exchequer." It is, perhaps, the best authority we have concerning the law of England in respect of wills in Shakespearian times, considerably more than 200 years before our present "Wills Act." I will quote the exact words of the passage to which I made reference. They are to be found in Volume III, at p. 4, under "Devise (E. 1)" and under title, "How a Testament shall be executed," viz., "After the Stat. 32 and 34 Hen. VIII, it was sufficient that a will was put in writing by the testator, or by another with his privity and direction, without any other execution."
1 Dr. Tannenbaum writes that I speak "with an air of authority," but "not accurately." I had, however, made reference to my "authority" in a foot-note to p. 51 of my book, viz., "Comyns's Digest," Estates by Devise, D. I and E. I. I fear Dr. Tannenbaum omitted to consult that excellent "authority."
2 I have followed Dr. Tannenbaum's example by putting these four words in italics.