Review of François Pouillon (ed.), Dictionnaire des orientalistes de langue française. Clamecy, 2008. ISMM – Karthala. XXII + 1007 p. ISBN 978-2-84586-802-1.
This is a very rich encyclopedia not only of scholars (philologists, linguists, archaeologists, historians, anthropologists, philosophers etc.) and travelers but also of writers, painters, composers and film directors as well as institutions and periodicals connected with Asia as well as with a part of Africa. The lemmata are detailed and usually well written, there are good bibliographies attached to them. This is a very valuable mine of information but I think that there should be a second edition in which the following very important persons missing in this edition should be included: Arabists: Henri Fleisch (!), Marius Canard ; Egyptologists: Gustave Lefebvre, Jozef Vergote, Jacques Vandier, Michel Malinine, Jacques Jean Clère, Pierre du Bourguet, Jean Yoyotte, Eugène Revillout, Georges Bénédite, Charles Chipie ; Hebraists: Paul Jouon, Charles-François Jean, Joseph Derenbourg, Mayer Lambert, Arthur-Marie Le Hir, Antoine Fabre d’Oliver, Antoine Garnier; Assyriologists and specialists on Ugaritic: René Labat, André Caquot, Pierre Nougayrol; Biblical scholars: Eugène Tisserant; Kurdologists: Kamuran Ali Bedir Khan, Basile Nikitine; Berberologists: Jean-Marie Dallet, Jacques Lanfry, R. Aspignon, Georges/Yuriy Zavadovskiy; Syriologists: René Graffin, Keam-Baptiste Chabot, Rubens Duval, François Nau; specialists on Ancient South Arabian: Jacqueline Pirenne, Gonzague Ryckmans, Jacques Ryckmans; Ethiopianists: Roger Schneider, Jean Tubiana; Iranologists : Charles Schefer, Louis Vanden Berghen; Indologists: Auguste Barth, Alexandre Langlois, Eugène and Emile-Louis Bournouf, Julien Vinson; a specialist on ‘Afar language and culture: Edouard de Chedeville; specialist on Malgache and on the history of the Indian Ocean: Gabriel Ferrand. The following institutions should have their lemmata: Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale (!), Institut Français d’Etudes Arabes de Damas (!), Institut Catholique de Paris, Ecole Biblique de Jerusalem (!); Institut de Belles Lettres Arabes deserves a full lemma and not only a mention under ‘Demeerseman’ (p. 282) and elsewhere (pp. 89, 283, 422). Several periodicals (e.g. Hesperis, Journal des Africanistes, Revue de l’Orient Chrétien, Le Muséon, Annuaire de l’Afrique du Nord, Arabica) should be added. Specialists in other disciplines than mine will be able to indicate other lacunae to be amended. This is a great source and it should be continued in new revised and enlarged editions. There should be separate Indices helping to find persons according to their fields, e.g. Arabists, Egyptologists, Sinologists, poets etc. A propos p. IX: ‘orientalisme’ is not dead and its numerous positive aspects secure its life; ‘deconstruction’ is dead !
7th April 2010 – to appear in Folia Orientalia, 45/46, 2010.