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Reviewed by:
  • Miscellanea Asiatica: Mélanges en l’honneur de Françoise Aubin/Festschrift in Honour of Françoise Aubin ed. by Denise Aigle et al.
  • Marie-Paule Hille (bio)
Denise Aigle, Isabelle Charleux, Vincent Goossaert, and Roberte Hamayon, editors. Miscellanea Asiatica: Mélanges en l’honneur de Françoise Aubin/Festschrift in Honour of Françoise Aubin. Monumenta Serica Monograph Series 61. Sankt Augustin, Nettetal: Institut Monumenta Serica, Steyler Verlag, 2010. xvi, 811 pp. Hardcover €100.00, isbn 978-3-8050-0568-5.

To pay homage to Françoise Aubin, a great figure of Asian studies, and to her scientific career that spans five decades, is as commendable an initiative as it is a generous and ambitious one. The preface of this hefty tome follows, with great relevance, the scientific work and the academic trajectory of Françoise Aubin in order to provide the reader with an understanding of her works. It also provides the reader with a portrait of a great humanist and a sound scientific mind, painted with a precise and delicate brush. This book is thus an homage both to Françoise Aubin’s life’s work and to her personal achievements, as these words, written by a close friend, about her and husband Jean Aubin, will attest: “[T]wo exceptionally gifted researchers, discoverers of hitherto unexplored scientific fields” (Philippe Gignoux, p. 754). Twenty-eight contributions, collected in this beautiful tome on Denise Aigle’s initiative, mirror the vast expanse of Françoise Aubin’s linguistic and thematic knowledge, as well as her intellectual influence in the scientific world, both in France and abroad. She belongs to the true pioneers, those who break new ground, sow the seeds of knowledge, and shine a light in the darkness. This wants no more proof than the simple fact that her discoveries and pertinent insights are still today the fertile soil that nurtures the reflection of many researchers. Surely, there are many still in her debt.

Françoise Aubin’s unquenchable thirst for knowledge and her desire to share her readings are, more than anywhere else, manifest in the colossal sum of reviews (1,176 in the summer of 2012) she published in a vast array of fields. This meticulous reading process, which enabled her to build a solid knowledge base, forces admiration and remains, to the best of my knowledge, without equal. One of the great merits of this collection of articles is the presence of Françoise Aubin’s complete bibliography: Her articles and reviews from 1957 to 2010 can thus be found on pages 13–74. The quality of the presentation of the book is, in itself, commendable, with its great many color illustrations, diagrams, sketches, and tables, which beautifully complement the writing. One can regret, however, the [End Page 400] lack of what would have been, on the part of more than one author, a helpful addition: maps meant to give a better context for the subject matter of the articles and to allow the reader to locate the various sites where field studies took place. The only article to come with this visual aid is “Chevaux et Xiongnu en Mongolie,” on pages 77–120. Furthermore, while we do not dispute the enormousness of such a task, particularly concerning a volume as dense as this one (800 pages), one cannot help but feel that a general index at the end of the volume might have provided a bridge between articles, some of which, surprisingly enough, touch, each in their way, on similar matters (for instance, on themes such as collective imagination or eschatology). The contributions, mostly written in French or in English (with a lone German article in their midst), are divided into five thematic sections; an English summary is available for almost every one. The peril to avoid in Festschrift as a genre is that of ending up with texts that have little to no relation to each other all cobbled together. Here, the editors avoided this pitfall and, from the very inception of the project, evidently thought of establishing an overarching guideline, relying on broad but descriptive themes suggested to the authors. This rigorous editorial work makes for an elegant coherence within each...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 400-415
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-15
Open Access
No
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