Eugène Vinaver

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Eugène Vinaver (Russian: Евгений Максимович Винавер Yevgeniĭ Maksimovich Vinaver, 18 June 1899 – 21 July 1979) was a Russian-born British literary scholar who is best known today for his edition of the works of Sir Thomas Malory.

Eugène Vinaver
Евгений Максимович Винавер
Eugène Vinaver Truro 1930 (cropped).jpg
Vinaver in 1930
Yevgeniĭ Maksimovich Vinaver

(1899-06-18)18 June 1899
DiedJuly 21, 1979(1979-07-21) (aged 80)
Kent, England
Elizabeth Malet Vaudrey
(m. 1939)
Academic background
Alma materOxford University
ThesisLe Roman de Tristan et Iseut dans l'oeuvre de Thomas Malory (1925)
Doctoral advisorJoseph Bédier and Alfred Jeanroy
Other academic advisorsMildred Pope
Academic work
DisciplineMedieval literature
Sub-disciplineChivalric romance, Arthurian literature
InstitutionsUniversity of Manchester
Notable worksLe Morte d'Arthur

Early lifeEdit

Vinaver was born in Saint Petersburg, the son of Jewish-Russian lawyer, national politician,[1] and Jewish community leader[2] Maxim Vinaver, who emigrated to France in 1919.[3]

Eugene Vinaver studied at the École pratique des hautes études in Paris, where he was a pupil of Joseph Bédier.

Life in EnglandEdit

From the late 1920s, he lived in England (one of his teachers was Mildred Pope[4]) and in 1933 he was appointed Professor of French Language and Literature at the University of Manchester. He received his doctorate from Oxford University in 1950.

The Arthurian congress at Truro in Cornwall, 1930

In 1928, Vinaver founded in Oxford the Arthurian Society, which published two volumes under the title Arthuriana (1929, 1930). This society was renamed the Society for the Study of the Medieval Languages and Literatures. Arthuriana became Medium Aevum. In 1948, the International Arthurian Society was organized by Eugène Vinaver and Jean Frappier.

In 1947, Eugène Vinaver published a new edition of Malory's Morte d'Arthur, based on the 15th-century Winchester Manuscript which W.F. Oakeshott had discovered in the Fellows' Library at Winchester College in 1934. He noted the structural differences between the text in the manuscript and Caxton's edition of Morte d'Arthur, such as chapter headings and divisions, and wording changes.

In addition to his interest in Arthurian legend, Vinaver was also a recognised authority on Racine and Flaubert.

Vinaver was a correspondent member of the British Academy, laureate of the French Academy of Sciences, and the Medieval Academy of America, and a foreign member of Académie royale de langue et de littérature française of Belgium. He was awarded the Order of the Legion of Honor.

Malory died in Kent on 21 July 1979 of malignant lymphoma.[5]

Selected worksEdit

  • Form and Meaning in Medieval Romance, 1966
  • À la recherche d'une poétique médiévale, 1970
  • The Rise of Romance, 1971


  1. ^ Sophie Dubnov-Erlich (1991). The Life and Work of S.M. Dubnov: Diaspora Nationalism and Jewish History. The Modern Jewish Experience. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-253-31836-7. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  2. ^ Robert M. Seltzer (2013). Simon Dubnow's New Judaism: Diaspora Nationalism and the World History of the Jews. Supplements to the Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy (Book 21). Leiden: Brill Academic Pub. p. 140. ISBN 9789004260528.
  3. ^ David Bradby (1993). The Theater of Michel Vinaver. Theater: Theory/Text/Performance. University of Michigan Press. p. 153. ISBN 978-0-472-10326-3. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  4. ^ Kennedy, Elspeth (2005). "Mildred K. Pope (1872–1956): Anglo-Norman Scholar". In Jane Chance (ed.). Women medievalists and the academy. Madison: U of Wisconsin Press. pp. 147–56. ISBN 978-0-299-20750-2.
  5. ^ Yee, Pamela M. (2013). Eugène Vinaver's Magnificent Malory: Exhibit Guide (pamphlet). Rochester, Michigan: Rossell Hope Robbins Library. Retrieved 29 March 2021.