30 Apr 2006

Jean-François Revel Dead at 82

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AP reports that Jean-François Revel died today at the age of 82.

Revel, who also was a member of the noted Academie Francaise, died at Kremlin-Bicetre Hospital, just south of Paris, said his wife Claude Sarraute, a former journalist herself. The cause of death was not immediately revealed.

Revel, author of about 30 books whose subjects ranged from poetry to gastronomy to politics, became known in later years for his conservative position and pro-American stance as editor-in-chief of the newsweekly L’Express and commentator at that magazine and later at rival Le Point.

One of his latest books, published in 2002, was entitled L’Obsession anti-americaine. Son fonctionnement, ses causes, ses inconsequences (The Anti-American Obsession. Its Functioning, Its Causes, Its Inconsequentialness).

Among other books in his assorted collection of works is Le moine et le philosophe (The Monk and The Philosopher), published in 1997, in collaboration with his son Matthieu Ricard, himself a Buddhist monk who is close to the Dalai Lama.

Revel, known as a bon vivant with gourmet tastes, was appointed one of the 40 so-called immortals of the Academie Francaise, a watchdog of the French language, in 1997.

Revel “was a free spirit (whose) works trace a singular, fertile, indispensable path,” Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said.

In his statement, Villepin said Revel “was one of the first to relentlessly denounce Soviet totalitarianism.”

Jean d’Ormesson, a fellow “immortal” at the Academie Francaise, called Revel “one of the great intellectuals of our time” and his death “a great loss for the Academie Francaise and for the country.”

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