Théodore Claude Henri, vicomte Hersart de la Villemarqué
|Born||7 July 1815|
|Died||8 December 1895 80) (aged|
Théodore Claude Henri, vicomte Hersart de la Villemarqué (7 July 1815 –8 December 1895) was a Breton philologist and man of letters.
La Villemarqué was born in Quimperlé, Finistère on 6 July 1815. He was descended from an old Breton family, which counted among its members a Hersart who had followed Saint Louis to the Crusades, and another who was a companion in arms of Du Guesclin. La Villemarqué devoted himself to the elucidation of the monuments of Breton literature. Introduced in 1851 by Jakob Grimm as correspondent to the Academy of Berlin, he became in 1858 a member of the Academy of Inscriptions. He died at Castle Keransker near Quimperlé on 8 December 1895.
His works include: Contes populaires des anciens Bretons (1842), to which was prefixed an essay on the origin of the romances of the Round Table; Essai sur l'histoire de la langue bretonne (1837); Poèmes des bardes bretons du sixième siècle (1850); La Légende celtique en Irlande, en Cambrie et en Bretagne (1859). The popular Breton songs published by him in 1839 as Barzaz Breiz were considerably retouched. La Villemarqué's work has been superseded by the work of later scholars, but he has the merit of having done much to arouse popular interest in his subject.
On the subject of the doubtful authenticity of Barzaz Breiz, see Luzel's Preface to his Chansons populaires de la Basse-Bretagne, and, for a list of works on the subject, the Revue Celtique (vol. V).
Gwenc'hlan is the cognomen of a legendary 6th century Breton druid and bard called Kian, the subject and purported author of a Breton song called "Diougan Gwenc'hlan", published by Hersart de la Villemarqué in his 1839 anthology Barzaz Breiz.
Barzaz Breiz is a collection of Breton popular songs collected by Théodore Hersart de la Villemarqué and published in 1839. It was compiled from oral tradition and preserves traditional folk tales, legends and music. Hersart de la Villemarqué grew up in the manor of Plessix in Nizon, near Pont-Aven, and was half Breton himself.
Breton literature may refer to literature in the Breton language (Brezhoneg) or the broader literary tradition of Brittany in the three other main languages of the area, namely, Latin, Gallo and French – all of which have had strong mutual linguistic and cultural influences.
Julien Auguste Pélage Brizeux was a French poet. He was said to belong to a family of Irish origin, long settled in Brittany. He was educated for the law, but in 1827 he produced at the Théâtre Français a one-act verse comedy, Racine, in collaboration with Philippe Busoni.
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The Pontcallec conspiracy was a rebellion that arose from an anti-tax movement in Brittany between 1718 and 1720. This was at the beginning of the Régence (Regency), when France was controlled by Philippe II, Duke of Orléans during the childhood of Louis XV. Led by a small faction of the nobility of Brittany, it maintained links with the ill-defined Cellamare conspiracy, to overthrow the Regent in favour of Philip V of Spain, who was the uncle of Louis XV. Poorly organised, it failed, and four of its leaders were beheaded in Nantes. The aims of the conspirators are disputed. In the 19th and early 20th century it was portrayed as a proto-revolutionary uprising or as a Breton independence movement. More recent commentators consider its aims to have been unclear.
Breiz may refer to
Jean François Marie Le Gonidec de Kerdaniel was a Breton grammarian who codified the Breton language.
"An Alarc'h" is a Breton traditional song. It is found in the 1839 collection Barzaz Breiz. It tells of the return from exile in England of the Breton prince Jean de Montfort and his defeat of the French army under Bertrand du Guesclin in 1379. It has been recorded by, amongst others, Alan Stivell and Gilles Servat.
Morvarc'h is the name of a fabulous horse of Breton legend found in two folktales reworked in the 19th and 20th centuries. Though its name appears in older sources, it was invented or reinterpreted by Charles Guyot, who named it Morvark in his version of the legend of the city of Ys in 1926. It belongs to the "Queen of the North" Malgven, who gives it to her husband King Gradlon. Endowed with the ability to gallop on the waves, Morvarc'h is described as having a black coat and as breathing flames through its nostrils. It also appears in a Breton folktale about King Marc'h of Cornouaille. In the course of a deer hunt it is killed by its own rider's arrow, which has been turned around by the spell of Dahud, the daughter of Malgven. She then puts the ears of the horse Morvarc'h on the head of King Marc'h, who seeks in vain to hide them.
"Gwerz Skolan" is a gwerz with a long tradition in Lower Brittany, especially Léon-Trégor and Cornouaille. Its story is found in Old Welsh texts also, and the oldest extant Welsh version is found in the 13th-century Black Book of Carmarthen. The poem is cited as evidence for the preservation in Brittany of cultural memories and traditions predating the entrance of Bretons into Brittany. The gwerz was performed in Brittany until the 19th century, with some late examples from the 20th century. Its content describes a man who had died after living a life of rape and murder, and now comes back from hell to ask for forgiveness.
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Breton Ballads is an academic monograph by Mary-Ann Constantine, published in 1996. The book includes examples of the Breton ballad known as the gwerz, and follows their history, and that of scholarship on the genre, into the 19th and 20th centuries. It was awarded the Katharine Briggs Prize by The Folklore Society in 1996.