Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Frivolous Philologist

A.J. Liebling, Days with the DayDayBay:
Another of my lecturers was Professor Antoine Thomas, who taught Old Provençal. I remember that he had a spade-shaped white beard and that he accused Professor Anglade, of the University of Toulouse, his rival in their common field, of approaching the origin of a verb I have forgotten "avec sa légèreté coutumière" ("with his habitual frivolity"). What an epithet can be derived from that—"Frivolous philologist!" For thirty years I have been waiting for a chance to use it, but every time I get into an argument with a savant, he turns out to be of some other persuasion—a psychologist, perhaps, or a podiatrist. The neck my knife would fit has never presented itself.
There is an obituary of Antoine Thomas (November 29, 1857-May 17, 1935) by C. Brunel in Bibliothèque de l'école des chartes 96 (1935) 433-437.

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