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Maurice Druon, RIP

French novelist, historian, and World War II resistance fighter Maurice Druon has died at 90. He lived a pretty extraordinary life. You can read his obit here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/world/europe/16druon.html

I never had the honor of meeting M. Druon, and I have not even read all of his work (yet). But I am a huge fan of his best known novels, the wonderful "Accursed Kings" series of historical novels. I have often said that my own SONG OF ICE AND FIRE was inspired as much by historical fiction as by fantasy, and Druon's series was one of my major inspirations (along with the work of other favorites like Thomas B. Costain, Mika Waltari, Bernard Cornwell, and many more). The ACCURSED KINGS is great stuff. Philip the Fair, the Curse of the Templars, the end of the Capetians and the roots of the Hundred Years War... I don't read French, but even in translation these are great reads. (Although I don't believe the last volume has ever been published in English, which some publisher should rectify).

Every writer hopes that he will still be read after his death. Here's your chance to make M. Druon's dream come true, and do yourself a favor at the same time. Go off to ebay or ABE books and find yourself a copy of THE IRON KING, the first volume of the series. You won't regret it.

Comments

infinite_hiatus
Apr. 17th, 2009 09:31 am (UTC)
I've often wondered how you created such a realistic medieval world. I assumed you had done a lot of research, but it's interesting to get a behind the scenes glimpse at what you were reading.

I've always thought the Académie Française was a bizarre institution. Who actually thinks you can arbitrate language? The French, apparently.
escarboucle
Apr. 17th, 2009 10:23 am (UTC)
I think that Les Rois Maudits is a saga that marked the French - although, I didn't read it... yet - there has been 2 series - one, old and wonderful and a new from last year, that you have to avoid at all cost. Druon was a great author though - he will be missed. It is a fascinating period of our history, so I guess that it also adds to the story ^^

As for the Académie Française, it is important because French is such a tricky language - lots of grammar points, lots of expressions. I write in French very well and I still learn/relearn points every month or so - I am the kind of people who is unbearably perfectionist though.
Because, it's not because people think that something is written one way that it's true. The most peculiar example would be "Au temps pour moi" that people most often write "Autant pour moi" which is simply wrong (but you pronounce it the same way and the second could make sense, sooooo...). Tricky is tricky, French needs an institution to pinpoint those kind of things.
infinite_hiatus
Apr. 17th, 2009 11:00 am (UTC)
syneiam, I'm not able to see your post yet to reply to it, so I'll reply here.

No language is trickier than English. We have more words than any language and a Latin grammar system forced over Germanic roots. There are plenty of examples in English of incorrect phrases. For example, the idiots who say "intensive purposes" instead of "intents and purposes." With the Académie Française it's more about the language purity. Languages evolve naturally. They don't need protection. You're talking about a culture which regulates the recipe for bread. I just think they need to unclench.
escarboucle
Apr. 17th, 2009 12:27 pm (UTC)
I am not here to debate about the Académie - I'm sorry, George! - so I won't reply further than this. What you think and the reality are two different things, and that's why I replied to your first message.

I know my culture very well, thank you. And our bread is still the best. :P
arthegarn
Apr. 17th, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
Who controls the British Crown? Who keeps the metric system down?
We do! (too)

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