The Revenge of Maurras

Every year, France’s Ministry of Culture publishes an official volume to commemorate major anniversaries in French history, covering past events as well as the lives of prominent personalities. Assembled by a team of historians and approved by the Ministry, the list mixes victories and failures, the honored and the notorious—judging events and personalities strictly on the basis of their historical significance. In 2018, the judges placed Charles Maurras on the list, noting the 150th anniversary of his birth. Protests ensued. The judges insisted that commemoration is not the same as celebration, to no avail. Bowing to pressure, the Minister of Culture recalled and reedited the volume. Maurras’s name was effaced from the official history.

The same year saw the release of a new anthology of Maurras, the first edition of his works to be arranged and published since 2002. It, too, caused a scandal. Reviewers deplored “the return of a fascist icon.”

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