[INDOLOGY] Passing of Marie-Claude Porcher

Isabelle Ratie isabelle.ratie at gmail.com
Tue Jan 10 08:50:46 UTC 2023

Dear Indology members, dear friends and colleagues,

I am posting below, on behalf of Professor Sylvain Brocquet, a message
bearing the sad news of Professor Marie-Claude Porcher's passing. She was
one of my teachers when I began learning Sanskrit, and I remember with much
gratitude, admiration and affection her wonderful ability to share her love
for kāvya, her great generosity, and, beyond her reserved manners, her
delightful sense of humour. She will be greatly missed.
With my condolences to her family, friends, colleagues and students,
Isabelle Ratié
Professeur, Département des Études Orientales, Sorbonne Nouvelle

*From Professor Brocquet, Aix-Marseille University:*

We have the regret to report the death of Marie-Claude Porcher, Professor
emerita of Sanskrit, on December, the 31st, at the age of 85. Her funeral
will take place on January, the 13th, at Nantoux (Côte d’Or, France), in

Marie-Claude Porcher, before she retired, was long Professor of Sanskrit
language and literature in the University of Paris III, Sorbonne Nouvelle,
where her teaching was much appreciated by all her students. She
specialised in Sanskrit court poetry and Indian Poetics, and became a
prominent indologist in that field. She studied and translated into French
several works composed by Veṅkaṭādhvarin, in particular his
*Rāghavayādavīya*, a difficult poem whose verses can be read from left to
right or from right to left, thus conveying two different meanings (
*anulomavilomakāvya*), and his *Viśvaguṇādarśacampū* (both published in
1972). Her approach of Indian Poetics was very original and creative,
since, being an expert in Indian traditional alaṃkāraśāstra, and in
contemporary linguistics and poetics as well, she could combine them to
provide analyses that proved to be relevant from both points or view, and
helped connoisseurs not aware of Indian categories to access a deep
understanding of Sanskrit poetry. Among many other scholarly works,
including articles on ambiguity and suggestion, her monography, *Figures de
style en Sanskrit*, complemented by the analysis of poems by the same
Veṅkaṭādhvarin (published in 1978), has been for more than 40 years a
reference book that all indologists have recourse to. She was also a great
translator, who achieved a perfect balance between philological accuracy
and literary elegance, as witnessed by her translation of Daṇḍin’s
*Daśakumāracarita* (published in 1995), probably the best of all the
renderings of that poetic narrative. She was also, with Madeleine Biardeau,
one of the two architects of the celebrated French translation of the
*Rāmāyaṇa* (published in 1999). By her vast knowledge of Indian literature
and theory, her intellectual openness to the contribution of the human
sciences, her taste for belles lettres and the literary quality of her
translations, she undoubtedly was one of the worthiest heirs to the French
indological tradition.
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