Marcel Granet (1884–1940)

Rémi Mathieu
The history of French Sinology is marked by a series of axial dates and prominent names – Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat, the Marquis d'Hervey de Saint-Denys, Paul Pelliot and, above all, Édouard Chavannes – who made Francophone studies of China remarkable throughout the nineteenth century, the age of the birth of modern scientific research. Marcel Granet, whose fame outlived his premature death at the beginning of the War, on November 25th 1940, left a durable mark on this history through the
more » ... e that he managed to weave between his sinological knowledge, his study of sociology, brilliant intuitions, and a pedagogical capacity rooted in a writing-style as elegant as it is instructive. He had multiple scholarly talents but was unique in his gift for popularization. It would be possible to summarily divide his work into two great threads, sometimes remarkably entwined: inform the wider educated public about the roots and mysteries of ancient Chinese culture; and share his innovative readings of the documents that for more than two thousand years have formed the foundations of "China knowledge". It was through this scholarly route that Granet embarked on a brilliant academic career, and that he traced out a path from which he would never depart: that of an innovative, sometimes iconoclastic, interpretation of documents from, for the most part, Antiquity.
doi:10.25365/jeacs.2020.1.253-274 fatcat:u765b3flcjcntd7wpof7rt6zo4