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This report is taken from PN Review 24, Volume 8 Number 4, March - April 1982.

Sweet and Sour Revolution Stephen Romer
September 1981
There is an 'homme de culture', we are everywhere assured, installed in the Elysée palace. Since his election on 10 May, met with jubilation and dancing in the Place de la Bastille, François Mitterrand has indeed attended to the arts. Despite his preoccupation with reforms, he has not neglected to double the cultural budget, stabilise the price of books, visit the Avignon festival - and award the Légion d'Honneur to Louis Aragon. (I am told that Aragon was dryer than most at the Bastille on election night. Asked if he did not think the mass celebration was 'fan-tastique', he replied: 'A mon age on en a vu d'autres! D'ailleurs, hier j'ai vu un homme qui volait tout nu au-dessus de Paris. C'est tout de même plus intéressant, non?') . . . But to return to the acknowledged legislator, Mitterrand has been called, and with perhaps more justification than other politicians who would curry favour with the intellectuals, a potential man of letters. Leaving aside all the sentiment about 'l'autre Mitterrand', the Mitterrand who would escape to the woods and recite Lamartine, he has eight books behind him, and is proud to count among his personal friends several important intellectuals. (Recently, however, this pleiade has been cruelly diminished by several deaths, including that of Roland Barthes, run down while on his way to lunch with Mitterrand, in the heart of the Latin Quarter.) Despite these setbacks, in a pre-election interview Mitterrand re- affirmed what he once wrote, that politics ...


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