Anuarul Muzeului Etnografic al Moldovei – XVIII / 2018


The present paper refers to the activity of Moses Gaster (1856-1939), the great Romanian-born Jewish scholar, in the field of Gypsyology. His activity as a gypsyologist was encouraged by Franz Miklosich (1813-1891), the eminent Austrian Slavist, and consists mainly in five folktales collected by Moses Gaster from the gypsies of Bucharest in 1876 and 1877. These folktales have been partially taken to account by Franz Miklosich and Gaster himself; the latter published them in Romanian and foreign reviews (in German). Yet, the complete turning to account, by publishing, of the five folktales is achieved in England, Moses Gaster’s adopted country after he has been unfairly expelled from Romania (1885). Due to financial difficulties as well as to difficulties encountered in the process of editing the original text, the folktales collected by Moses Gaster were actually published between 1931 and 1938; in this period they were consecutively published, with the contribution of several great British specialists, in the famous “Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society”, a journal in which the scholar also published some parts of the history of the gypsies of Romania, a field for whose drawing up he had militated in his rich correspondence, unpublished until now, with Romanian and British interlocutors. Mention should be made on the fact that this correspondence includes some theoretic and methodological remarks concerning the collection and publication of the folktales gathered from the Romanian gypsies. Finally, our paper refers to the humanitarian attitude that Moses Gaster had towards English gypsies, for whom he publicly stood up when the local authorities of Epsom Downs banned their settling down in this famous resort.

Keywords: Moses Gaster, gypsies of Bucharest, Romanian gypsy folktales, Romanian and British gypsyologists.

Cuvinte-cheie: Moses Gaster, ţigani din Bucureşti, poveşti populare ale ţiganilor români, ţiganologi români şi britanici.