«Gegengabe» in Paremiology, Folklore, Language, and Literature – Honoring Wolfgang Mieder on His Seventieth Birthday
Edited By Christian Grandl and Kevin J. McKenna
Hungarian Proverbs in Solomon Caesar Malan's Original Notes on the Book of Proverbs
The polyglot Solomon Caesar Malan was born in Geneva in 1812 and died in Bournemouth in 1894. His ancestors fled from Merindol, France as they were "heretic" Huguenots and several members of the family were burned on the stakes. His father was a Calvinist priest speaking only in Latin with his son; his mother tongue was French. At home he learned French, Latin, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Sanskrit, German, and English. He studied at Oxford University with a Hebrew and a Sanskrit scholarship. In 1838 he became professor of classical languages at the Bishop's College in Calcutta. There he learned some Indian languages, Chinese from one of his students and Tibetan from the Hungarian Alexander Csoma de Körös (*1784, Körös; †1842, Darjeeling) the author of the first Tibetan-English dictionary published in Calcutta in 1834.
Returning to Britain for health reasons in 1840 he became Anglican vicar of the village Broadwindsor in Dorsetshire. There he learned additional languages from books, e.g. Finnish, Georgian, Hungarian, Japanese, and Welsh.
His magnum opus, started while studying at Oxford, is the three volume Original Notes on the Book of Proverbs, Mostly from Eastern Writings (in short Notes), published between 1889 and 1893. In it – as his "eldest surviving son," Arthur Noel Malan points out in the biography written on his father – it is proved that "there is not a verse in the Book of Proverbs which does...
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