International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

Sébillot, Paul (1843-1918)/Gaidoz, Henri (1842-1932)

After a two-year collaboration on the creation of a Bibliographie des traditions populaires de la France, Paul Sébillot and Henri Gaidoz had a falling out in 1884. These initial tensions are mainly attested to by the correspondence of the two protagonists: their correspondents, eminent members of the European scientific community, were more or less called upon to choose their side. If the two men reconciled on the surface, their relations would always remain tinged with hostility and this latent opposition would turn into a veritable polemic in 1912. Indeed, three years after Eugène Rolland’s death, Henri Gaidoz published a long article in Mélusine entitled “Eugène Rolland et son oeuvre littéraire” in which he violently attacked Paul Sébillot, calling him the “Amerigo Vespucci of folklore” and accusing him of claiming Rolland’s merits, in particular the founding in 1882 of the Dîners de Ma Mère l’Oye. Sébillot replied with two articles, “Notes pour servir à l’histoire du folk-lore en France I et II” in the Revue des traditions populaires. Henri Gaidoz asked for right of reply in the June 1913 issue, which Sébillot published with a page of “Simples notes” to close the controversy without exhausting it.

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