[INDOLOGY] Passing of Marie-Claude Porcher

Lyne Bansat-Boudon Lyne.Bansat-Boudon at ephe.psl.eu
Wed Jan 11 11:09:39 UTC 2023

Dear Indology members, dear friends and colleagues,

I wish to join my voice to those of my colleagues, Isabelle Ratié and Sylvain Brocquet. The very sad news of Professor Marie-Claude Porcher's passing came as a shock to me who had recently sent her my greetings for the New Year. I owe her for having given a significant turn to my life and career, encouraging me to choose Indian theatre and aesthetics as my first field of research. During the long period of her supervision of my D. Lit. thesis, bonds of friendship were created that never faded. And she did the same with some other students, so discreetly radiant was her personality. That is the image we will keep of her.
An internationally recognized specialist of Sanskrit kāvya and Poetics, Marie-Claude Porcher was a philologist in the full sense of the word, a lover of the texts and of the language, thus a very precise as well as subtle translator and exegete. Professor Sylvain Brocquet having faithfully described her wide range of talents and cited her major publications, I will confine myself to pay tribute to her accomplishments in the field of Indian theatre, as witnessed by her contributions to Théâtres indiens, the collective volume published in 1998, and to Théâtre de l’Inde ancienne, an anthology of Sanskrit theatre, published in the collection of La Pléiade (Gallimard, 2006).

Les âmes des défunts brillent dans le ciel d’hiver.

Lyne Bansat-Boudon
Directeur d'études pour les Religions de l'Inde
Ecole pratique des hautes études, section des sciences religieuses
Membre senior honoraire de l'Institut universitaire de France
De : INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> de la part de Isabelle Ratie via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info>
Envoyé : mardi 10 janvier 2023 09:50
À : [INDOLOGY] <indology at list.indology.info>
Objet : [INDOLOGY] Passing of Marie-Claude Porcher

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 privacy.

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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