British poet narrowly fails to fulfil dream of joining French 'immortals'
Friday 27 April 2012
A Franco-British academic and poet, Michael Edwards, failed narrowly yesterday to become the first Briton elected to the Académie Française, the institution which defends the purity of the French language.
Professor Edwards, 73, fell two votes short of winning a majority of the 25 academicians or "immortals" present during four rounds of balloting. None of the other six candidates, including the celebrity television presenter and novelist, Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, attracted more than two votes.
Professor Edwards, a poet and expert on French language and literature, failed on one previous attempt to join the so-called "immortals" in 2008. He must now wait at least a year to have a further try. The age limit for candidates is 75.
In nearly four centuries, the 40 members of the academy, elected for life, have included great French writers, philosophers, politicians, soldiers, churchmen and a sprinkling of Francophone foreigners.
There has never been an "immortal" born in Britain – nor one whose first language was English.
Mr Edwards received nine votes in the first round and 11 in the fourth – far more than any other candidate. Under the academy's strict rules, however, a candidate must win a majority of the academicians present within four rounds. The vacant seat will therefore remain open until another election is organised.
"To be elected (to the academy) would be the ultimate honour," Professor Edwards, who is married to a Frenchwoman and holds dual nationality, told The Independent in March. "It would be the last tick in the box to prove that, after all these years, I have been accepted as being French, even though I may remain very proud to be British."
- 1 Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 5 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
Mohammed Emwazi: Nine things we know about Isis militant 'Jihadi John'
What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
'Jihadi John': Mohammed Emwazi – from British computer programmer to Isis executioner
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
£50000 - £65000 per annum + bonus and benefits: Ashdown Group: Dynamics Expert...
£38000 - £48000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Senior ...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fully qualified electricians re...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst role...