Germain Marc'hadour's Hours
(extract from Moreana review Nb 100 - 1989)
by Marie-Claude ROUSSEAU
1921: Germain Marc'hadour is born on April 16th, at Langonnet, in the Morbihan hills of Brittany. Second of a family of five children, he grows in a bilingual, French and Breton environment. His parents, Yves and Marie, are masters' storekeepers: their patronymic " Marc'hadour ", from the Latin mercator, means in "trader" in Breton.
Christmas 1935: First contact with Thomas More, whose young person G.M. discovers the existence in the Petit Larousse Illustré pages, received as Christmas present.
1967-1943: After his studies at the "Petit Séminaire", G.M. joins the "Grand Séminaire" of Vannes. He has interim jobs as a primary school teacher during the "phoney war," without interrupting his Divinity studies.
1943: On request of his bishop, he arrived on November 3rd at Angers to prepare an English license at the Université Catholique de l'Ouest. He then discovers the unsuspected pleasure to study the living languages.
1944: Ordained priest on June 18th, some days after the allied Forces landing in Normandy. On August 4th, he meets Americans for the first time: soldiers of the General Patton came to free his hometown.
1945-1952: Provided with an Arts degree obtained in June 45, he teaches English and little Spanish at Pontivy ( Morbihan), where he is also prison chaplain. On Sundays, he crosses the diocese with a motorcycle to help colleagues in their pastoral duties. In August 1946: first stay in England. He spends summers 48, 49 and 52 in Germany as military chaplain on an interim basis with the French troops: Palatinate, Black Forest and West Berlin. As much attracted by Newman and Chesterton as by More, with whom he trades during his first summer in London, it is on Thomas More: Humanist and Educator that he decides to draft a report with the aim of the Diploma of High Education obtained in Rennes in January.
1951: His first researches at the British Museum reveal him that More is more or less underestimated.
1952-1953: He went to Lyon for eight months when the Université Catholique de l'Ouest à Angers ("la Catho") asks him the Language History Class preparation. Then he went to University College, London, where he obtains a diploma of Phonetics in December 53. Within all this not enough time was left for pure research.
1954: On February 2nd, first lesson at La Catho, department of English, where he used to teach philology and translation. In 1958, will be published a duplicated version in 292 pages of his lesson on Histoire de la langue anglaise, work now sold out.
On March 1st, he settles down 49 rue Pascal with his mother - who will die there on May 16th, 1959 - before living, from March 1st, 1960, 29 rue Volney.
April 1955: He launches the first of a series of educational sessions which will gather, several following years, high school English teachers in Angers, Rennes, Gates...
1956: During two years, he will drive the Angers-Tours route to pursue, in the Centre de la Renaissance, then steered by Pierre Mesnard, his exploration of the sixteenth century.
1956 is also the year when his first article is published: "Thomas More et les Etats-Unis," Etudes Anglaises, Paris, followed by other essays published in The Clergy Review (London 1957, 1958).
February 1959: Elizabeth F. Rogers having indicated these works to Richard S. Sylvester, G.M. is invited to participate to the edition of the Complete Works of More, the project has been born at Yale University.
1960: Thomas More show in Angers, in May. Conferences. On July 1st, G.M. attends the first night of A Man for All Seasons, at the Globe Theatre of London.
September 1960-December 1961: On September 8th, G.M. embarks for the USA and stays fifteen months at Yale. He prepares it the critical edition of Supplication of Souls. " Fullbright " Grant holder, he takes advantage of his stay to investigate morian collections in Washington, San Marino, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto... He publishes, in February 1961, in Drama Critique ( Detroit), the text of his first conference in the USA (Yale, October, 1960) on A Man for All Seasons, which America has just discovered. He is back in France for Christmas 1961 with the material for two books: 1) Translations of morian texts from English and Latin, what will be the Saint Thomas More published in 1962 in Namur; 2) a chronology of 588 pages: L'Univers de Thomas More (1477-1535), which will be published by Vrin, Paris, in 1963.
September 1963: International secretary of the Amici Thomae Mori, the association founded in Brussels on December 29th, 62 with six other members of diverse beliefs and countries, G.M. launches Moreana, English-French bilingual bulletin, simple link which is fast growing and becomes a learned review of international audience, using a dozen languages, and spread in about forty countries.
Paying tribute to the compilation and edition work the fruit of which Moreana is, several morian specialists will dedicate their works to G.M.: E.E. Reynolds, The Field is won, London, in 1968; Francisco Lopez Estrada, Thomas Moro, Madrid, on 1980; Fernando Mello Moser and José V. de Pina Martin, Thomas More in Portugal, Lisbon, in 1983.
From this year, conferences are lectured in most of the American big cities as well as in Canada. Benefit from several scholarships (Folger, in 1963, 1966; Huntington, in 1965). His entry into the Who's Who in Europe of 1964-65 gives evidence of its international reputation. He is interviewed in August 1965 on the San Francisco television, with R.S. Sylvester and R.J. Schoeck, about More, Erasmus and Luther. He runs a seminar "Early Tudor Humanism" at the Catholic University of America, Washington, during summer, 67.
Jan. 1968: Moreana and his manager are the object of a report in Catholic Digest. G.M., "Friend of the Saint" (pp. 63-68), is shown on the cover, "a slight fortyish Breton with a boyish smile," with for backcloth the portrait of More by Holbein.
May 1969: Doctor in Arts, University of Paris-Sorbonne, summa cum laude, for his main thesis Thomas More and the Bible - topic deposited in 1958, in a time when the French university circle ignored about everything of More - and an additional thesis, Thomas More seen by Erasmus.
The spare time left out of his teaching at the Catho where is conferred on him the Professor degree in 1970, the edition of Moreana and his priest's ministry, he dedicates it to the publication of books and articles, and to diverse trips abroad, with for highlight of his activities the fifth centenary celebrations of the birth of More in 1977 and 1978.
1970: He replaces during three months a missionary in the bush, in French Guyana, where teaches his nun sister. He translates some liturgical texts in "Galibi", with the enthusiastic assistance of young Amerindian pupils.
1972: New stay at the Folger. Edition of the Guide to More's London.
1973: Pilgrimage in Holy Land, as chaplain of a school complex.
1974: G.M. signs the 3.000 words article "Thomas More, Sir, Saint" of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
1975: "Visiting professor" at Sherbrooke, Canada, and at University of Georgia, USA.
1976: Co-editor with R.S. Sylvester of Essential Articles for the Study of Thomas More.
1977: Organize in Angers the International Congress Thomas More, on 13-20 April, and writes 56 pages of the Show Catalogue.
1977-1978: Lecture tour in Poland, U.K., USA, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Belgium. The decade of the morian centenary also leads G.M. twice in Paris, on the invitation of the French television, to represent in the jury of the Dossiers de l'Ecran with a film about Henry VIII and an other one about Thomas Becket, the martyr to whom More refers in its last letter.
1981-85: Edition of Dialogue Concerning Heresies, co-editor with T.M.C. Lawler and R.C. Marius, Yale U.P., 1981. Then series of " morian pilgrimages ": Argentina, in 1982; Spain and Portugal, in 1983; and in 1985, on the occasion of the canonization of More and John Fisher golden jubilee: in May, Rome; in July, London; in August, Wolfenbüttel (FRG) for the Neo-Latin Congress; in September-December, the USA, among which five weeks in autumn as " distinguished visiting professor " to Auburn University, Alabama.
Edition, with Roland Galibois, of Erasme de Rotterdam et Thomas More: Correspondance, Sherbrooke University, 1985.
1986: He finishes the critical edition of Supplication of Souls, CW 7.
1987-88: He appears in the seventh edition of the Nouveau Dictionnaire Biographique Européen and he shares his professional activities between a little of teaching and a lot of edition: not only that of Moreana, who adds up about 12.000 pages (by means of the C.N.R.S. for around ten years), but also that of monographs of the 16th century, stemming from Moreanum, laboratory which he steers within the Institut de Recherche Fondamentale et Appliquée of the UCO.
These last years, without refusing conferences which bring him to resume from time to time his pilgrim's staff for the morian cause, he devotes a good part of his time (" This is my time, take and eat " is one of its maxims) to welcome in his cave - "his lair" as said R.S. Sylvester - friends and passing through researchers. Knighted chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes académiques, on May 18th, 1988, he participates, in August, at the 7th Congress of Neo-Latin Studies, at Toronto, and spends the autumn in Rhode Island University as invited Professor. He is celebrated with a colloquium there: A Scholar for All Seasons. At his return in December, 88 he wishes to be freed from his editor's tasks of Moreana to cultivate, in an other way, his morian garden.