Joseph Charles Marie Bédier

Bédier, Joseph Charles Marie


Born Jan. 28, 1864, in Paris; died Aug. 29, 1938, in Grand-Serre, department of Drôme. French philologist and medievalist. Member of the Académie Française from 1921.

In his major work, Epic Legends (vols. 1–4, 1908–13), Bédier ignores the role of the creative work of the people. According to him, epics owe their origin to church legends, which were composed considerably later than the events being described for the purpose of attracting pilgrims to the monasteries connected with the cult of epic heroes (such as Roland, Olivier, and Turpin). Bédier’s theory, though fundamentally erroneous, illuminates certain details in a new way and has received recognition from many European and American literary scholars. Bédier also wrote a stylized version of the medieval Romance of Tristan and Isolde (1900; Russian translation, 1903 and 1956).


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946. Pages 49–52.
Vinaver, E. Hommage a Bédier. Paris, 1942.