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About the journal

The journal was born in 1870 in Montpellier where it is published to this day. At the time, it was the organ of a Society for the Study of Romance Languages that had been created one year before and gathered in its fold experienced philologists, local luminaries and félibres, all active in promoting the literary renaissance of the Occitan language. The Revue was born at a time when romance studies were dominated by German science, which, in the context of the French defeat in the war against Prussia, lent it some patriotic aura. It embodied the ambition to create a scientific dynamic in the provinces, while it was generally admitted that real science was being elaborated in Paris.

Over the first years, the journal welcomed studies on Medieval languages and literatures (both langue d’oc and d’oïl), editions of non-fiction, Medieval Occitan and Catalan texts, articles on other romance languages, or else articles on contemporary Occitan literature: many of the greatest félibre poets provided the journal with hitherto unpublished poems. The Critique section in each number integrated reviews on the criticism on romance culture published out of Montpellier, at times criticizing, in a more or less friendly way, what became the main rival of the RLR, i.e.: Romania, published in Paris by Paul Meyer and Gaston Paris.

This early period ended up in the 1890s as the participation of the félibres dwindled, even if Camille Chabaneau, a félibre himself and a senior lecturer in Medieval Occitan language from 1878 onwards, featured in many issues. In these circumstances, the journal assumed a more scholarly tone and, at the same time, opened itself to other romance languages, like Romansh, Italian, etc. The proportion of French increased too under the influence of Maurice Grammont who, in the inter-war period, became the main actor of the journal, and dialectology gained ground thanks to the collaboration of Dauzat, Millardet or else Anglade. At the same time, the main field of interest of the journal focused exclusively on “Gallo-Roman”. Besides, the rhythm of publication slowed down on account of material and financial difficulties. The publication of the journal was suspended throughout the Second World War.

The RLR was reborn at the end of the war as a direct emanation of the Arts faculty of Montpellier that took over from the original Society. This went along with a renewed interest in Occitan language and literature, which somewhat dwindled over the preceding period, except in the field of dialectology. The main actors of the post-war period, Édouard Bourciez till 1958, and then Charles Camproux, who successively held the chair of romance studies at the Faculty, were both open to the Occitan dimension, particularly the latter, an Occitan writer and activist. The Occitan dimension was then confirmed with the arrival of Robert Lafont and his students, the creation of a CNRS research team and the action of Philipe Gardy and Philippe Martel, who opened the journal to modern and contemporary literary history or sociolinguistics, without rejecting any interest in other romance languages. Thanks to the consistent faithfulness of the late Jean Dufournet, who was for a long time at the head of the editorial board, the RLR assumed pride of place among the journals with an interest in Medieval literature in langue d’oïl. From 1982 onwards, the Revue des Langues Romanes adopted the modus operandi that it still valid today under the successive leaderships of Paul Fabre and Jean-Marie Petit, then Gérard Gouiran, and, lately, Gilda Caïti-Russo, both professors of Occitan studies and specialists of Medieval culture.

The Revue des Langues Romanes will celebrate its 150th birthday soon, which makes it the oldest French journal devoted to Romance studies, and among one of the oldest ones in Europe. Still, it still has a long way to go and now bravely embarks on its e-publishing career.

Longa mai !

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