Sarkozy pays tribute to French writer Druon

21st April 2009, Comments 0 comments

President Nicolas Sarkozy paid tribute to the late French writer and resistance hero Maurice Druon.

PARIS – President Nicolas Sarkozy paid tribute Monday to the late French writer and Resistance hero Maurice Druon, saying his life testified to the "greatness of the human will when it stands up to fatalism."

Druon -- who wrote one of France's most patriotic songs during World War II, served as a government minister in the 1970s and went on to head the prestigious Academie Francaise -- died last Tuesday aged 90.

"Throughout your life, you never stopped proclaiming one thing: the greatness of the human will when it stands up to fatalism," Sarkozy said during a Paris military ceremony in honour of Druon.

He singled out Druon as co-composer of "Chant des Partisans" (Song of the Partisans), which he wrote with his uncle, the writer Joseph Kessel, in 1943 after joining French resistance leader Charles De Gaulle in London.

"Your life was that of a man of dignity, your life was that of a man of freedom, who knew so well the value of dignity and freedom that you were able to write, with Joseph Kessel, perhaps the most beautiful hymn ever written to the spirit of the Resistance," said Sarkozy.

French politicians and leading figures from academia gathered at the Saint-Louis des Invalides church in central Paris for funeral services that were followed by the president's tribute.

Druon had built a rich career as a writer of historical novels including "Les Rois Maudits" (The Cursed Kings) and won France's top literary prize the Goncourt in 1948.

A strong defender of the French language, Druon was elected to the Academie Francaise in 1966 and served as first secretary from 1985 to 1999.

AFP / Expatica

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