Anatole Le Braz

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Anatole le Braz, the "Bard of Brittany" (2 April 1859 – 20 March 1926) was a Breton folklore collector and translator. He was highly regarded amongst both European and American scholars, and known for his warmth and charm.[1]

Le Braz was born in Saint-Servais (Côtes-d'Armor, Brittany) and raised amongst woodcutters and charcoal burners, speaking the Breton language; his parents did not speak French. He spent his holidays in Trégor, which inspired his later work. He began school aged 10 at Saint-Brieuc and progressed swiftly to a degree at the Sorbonne, where he studied for seven years.[1]

He then returned to Brittany, where for 14 years he taught at the Lycée at Quimper and gradually translated old Breton songs into modern French, continuing the folklore work of François-Marie Luzel. He often entertained local peasants and fishermen in the old manor house where he lived, recording their songs and tales. His book, Chansons de la Bretagne ("Songs of Brittany") was awarded a prize by the Académie française.[1]

In 1898, he became president of the Union régionaliste bretonne formed in Morlaix following the Breton festivals. In 1899 he joined the Association des bleus de Bretagne. He was made lecturer and then professor in the Faculty of Arts at Rennes University between 1901 and 1924.

Le Braz was sent on foreign cultural missions by the French Government twenty times. He made several visits to the US, Canada and Switzerland, notably lecturing at Harvard University in 1906, and at Columbia University in 1915. During his 1915 visit he married Henrietta S. Porter of Annapolis, who died in 1919. In 1921 he married Mabel Davison of Manhattan, sister of the famed banker Henry P. Davison.[1] American novelist John Nichols is his great-grandson.[2]

Le Braz died at Menton on the French Riviera. Mourners included the Premiere, Aristide Briand.[1]

A number of memorials to Le Braz exist in Brittany. A large statue of him with a peasant storyteller was created in Saint-Brieuc, and a memorial stele in Tréguier, both designed by Armel Beaufils.


  • La Chanson de la Bretagne ("The Songs of Brittany"), poetry, 1892
  • Tryphina Keranglaz, poem, 1892
  • La Légende de la mort en Basse-Bretagne, 1893.
  • Les Saints bretons d'après la tradition populaire en Cornouaille ("Breton Saints according to popular tradition in Cornouaille"), 1893-1894.
  • Au pays des pardons,[3] 1894.
  • Pâques d'Islande, 1897.
  • Vieilles histoires du pays breton, 1897
  • Le Gardien du feu, novel, 1900.
  • Le Sang de la sirène ("The Blood of the Siren"), 1901.
  • La Légende de la mort chez les Bretons armoricains, revised and expanded as La légende de la mort en Basse-Bretagne, 1902.
  • Cognomerus et sainte Trefine. Mystère breton en deux journées, text and translation, 1904
  • Contes du soleil et de la brume, 1905.
  • Ames d'Occident, 1911.
  • Poèmes votifs,[4] 1926.
  • Introduction, Bretagne. Les guides bleus, Hachette, Paris, 1949
  • La Bretagne. Choix de texte précédés d'une étude, Ed. La recouvrance, Rennes, 1995 (re-edition), 255 pages.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Le Braz obituary in Time 1926-04-05
  3. "Au pays des pardons / Anatole Le Braz" (in French). 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2014-06-03. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Anatole LE BRAZ - Les grands poèmes classiques - Poésie française - Tous les poèmes - Tous les poètes". Retrieved 2014-06-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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