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Du dictionnaire chinois-latin de Basilio Brollo aux lexiques pour le marché: deux siècles d’édition du chinois en Italie et en France

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By their very nature, multilingual dictionaries and lexicons are an emblem of cultural transfers. When printing widely different types of writing is necessary, they may also be precious witnesses of technical transfers and innovations in publishing and printing practice. Successfully publishing a major dictionary requires the conjunction of institutional or governmental will and adequate economic resources. This article provides an overview of the various versions of Basilio Brollo’s Dictionarium Sinico-Latinum, which served as a blueprint for several publishing projects, most of them abortive, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It introduces the various printing techniques used in these attempts, and discusses the mixed results of the editorial programs pursued in Europe, particularly in Italy and France. The Napoleonic period is significant not just because a Dictionnaire chinois, français et latin was published in Paris in 1813, but also because of the work carried out at the Collegio dei Cinese during the “French Decade” (1806–1815) in Naples. The article introduces several protagonists—both scholars concerned with publishing and teaching Chinese and publishers pursuing commercial interests—along the way.
Par leur contenu même les dictionnaires et lexiques plurilingues sont emblématiques des transferts culturels. La nécessité d’imprimer des écritures très différentes en fait parfois de précieux témoins des transferts techniques et des innovations dans les pratiques d’édition et d’impression. Concernant les dictionnaires les plus importants, l’aboutissement d’une publication nécessite la concomitance d’une volonté institutionnelle ou étatique et de moyens économiques adéquats. Cet article donne un aperçu des différentes versions du Dictionarium Sinico-Latinum de Basilio Brollo, qui fut à la base de plusieurs projets d’édition, la plupart inaboutis, aux xviiie et xixe siècles. Il évoque les différentes techniques d’impression utilisées dans ces tentatives, ainsi que les résultats très inégaux des programmes éditoriaux menés en Europe, notamment en Italie et en France. La période napoléonienne est significative non seulement en raison de la parution à Paris en 1813 du Dictionnaire chinois, français et latin, mais aussi à cause des travaux entrepris au Collegio dei Cinesi pendant la “décennie française” à Naples (1806–1815). Plusieurs protagonistes — savants soucieux de l’édition et de l’enseignement du chinois, éditeurs mus par des motivations commerciales — sont évoqués en cours de route.

Affiliations: 1: École française d’Extrême-Orient


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