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1.10.10

Académie Française Limiting the Age of the Immortals

The Académie française, responsible for, among other things, maintaining the purity of the French language, has grown older and older over the years. Many of its current members were elected in their seventies and eighties, but the institution is trying to make itself collectively younger by limiting the age of election to 75. Mohammed Aissaoui has a report on the new policy, not yet officially announced, in an article (L'Académie française rajeunit les immortels, October 1) for Le Figaro (my translation):
The objective is clear: it is not only a matter of making the "staff" of the prestigious institution younger, but even more to choose people still at an age capable of actively undertaking the greater and greater number of its missions. In fact, the Académie française is only following the example of the Académie des sciences, which made the same decision in 2002, and which even went farther with this rule: "At least half of the posts open at each session will be open to candidates younger than 55 years old on January 1 of the year of election."
The author also notes that if this rule had been in place earlier, the Académie would not have admitted a number of famous members, like Marguerite Yourcenar, the first woman to receive a seat, Georges Vedel, Georges Dumézil, Max Gallo, Simone Veil, and Dominique Fernandez.

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