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Julius Heinrich Klaproth

Julius Heinrich Klaproth

Berlin 1783 - Paris 1835

A German linguist, ethnographer, orientalist and explorer, and a friend of Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat. Son of the chemist and mineralogist Martin Heinrich, he turned to the study of Eastern languages at a young age after abandoning Chemistry and Physics and began his career by publishing the «Asiatisches Magazin»(Weimar, 1802-1803).  He traveled to St. Petersburg in 1805 and joined the embassy of Count Golovkin to China, in the process acquiring a large collection of Chinese, Manchurian, Mongol, and Japanese books. Between 1808 and 1810 he was sent to explore the Caucasus by the Academy of St. Petersburg, and in 1812 was named professor of Eastern Languages at Vilnius, though war prevented him from taking up the position. In 1815 he moved to Paris, which became his adopted home. Thanks to the aid of Alexander von Humboldt, Frederick William III, king of Prussia, named him professor of Asian languages and literatures with permission to stay in the French capital.  He was one of the founders of the Société asiatique in Paris.

Main works: Reise in den Kaukasus und Georgien in den Jahren 1807 und 1808 (Halle, 1812-14); Geographisch-historische Beschreibung des ostlichen Kaukasus (Weimar, 1814); Asia polyglotta ou Classification des peuples de l'Asie d'après leurs langues (Paris, 1823); Tableaux historiques de l'Asie (Paris, 1826); Memoires relatifs à l'Asie (Paris, 1824-28); Tableau historique, géographique, ethnographique et politique du Caucase (Paris, 1827); Vocabulaire et grammaire de la langue géorgienne (Paris, 1827).

Bibliography: C. Landresse, Notice historique et littéraire sur M. Klaproth, «Nouveau Journal Asiatique», XV, 1835, pp. 243-273.

Catalogue des livres imprimés, des manuscrits et des ouvrages Chinois, Tartares, Japonais, etc. composant la bibliothèque de feu M. Klaproth, Paris, R. Merlin 1839, 2 vol. (XII + 308; XIII + 80 p.), in 8º.

The sale catalogue published shortly after Julius Klaproth’s death consists of two parts and an alphabetical index of authors’ names.  The first part also has a Table alphabétique des ouvrages sans noms d’auteurs, while the second contains a Liste alphabétique des ouvrages. At the end of each part there is a Table des divisions. Each part opens with a Notice preliminaire, the first one anonymous, the second drafted by the orientalist Clerc de Landresse; they describe the contents of the library and describe the classification systems used. The first volume divides the 1937 titles, all numbered – according to the traditional method of Parisian booksellers – in 5 classes, which are then subdivided: Théologie, Jurisprudence, Sciences et arts, Belles lettres, Histoire.

The second part contains “the collection of Chinese, Tatar, and Japanese books and manuscripts” and lists 203 titles.  The Notice préliminaire by Landresse is in the opinion of the anonymous compiler of the first part a nothing less than a “compendium of Chinese literary history, which will assure Klaproth’s catalogue a place in all research libraries,” while Landresse himself judged his own text “a bibliographic labor of no little interest.” 

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last modify: 2017-10-10 11:23:24