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This report is taken from PN Review 86, Volume 18 Number 6, July - August 1992.

Remembering Harry Beyle David Arkell
As every schoolchild knows, 23 March 1842 was the day Stendhal died in Paris after collapsing in the street. This year being the 150th anniversary, I thought I'd celebrate in a modest way - but Chirac got there first.

It happened like this: my distinguished colleague Professor Victor del Litto had arranged a two-day seminar at the Bibliothéque Historique de Paris (Hôtel Lamoignon) on the subject of 'Stendhal, Paris et le mirage italien'. It began on Saturday 21 March in the presence of President Mitterrand, who stayed for one hour and thirty minutes before returning to the Elysée to concentrate on affairs of state, i.e. the state of France, Le Pen, etc., for it was the weekend of the elections.

But these goings-on in the Marais had not gone unnoticed at the Hôtel de Ville, where Chirac sat biting his fingernails (this is purely surmise) and wondering how best he could strike back. Eventually he ordered the biggest floral tribute that had even been seen and instructed that it be delivered forthwith to Stendhal's tomb in the Montmartre cemetery - the tomb which used to be hidden under the Caulaincourt bridge but has since been moved by M del Litto's Stendhal Club to a more suitably prominent position, together with its original marble slab bearing the singular inscription composed by Stendhal himself:
 
ARRIGO BEYLE
MILANESE
SCRISSE
AMO
VISSE
ANN. LIX M.II


Imagine my surprise when, ...
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