Denis Tillinac, the feather and the standard

The coincidence will not have escaped notice: Denis Tillinac passed away in the early morning of September 26, a year to the day after his great friend Jacques Chirac. The links between the two men were forged in the early 1970s on the roads of Corrèze, when the first, an apprentice journalist for the local daily The mountain, began to follow the electoral campaigns of the future President of the Republic. An epic that Denis Tillinac recounts in his first book, published in 1979, Spleen and Corrèze.

The Corrézien of Paris

Upon the announcement of his death, following a heart attack in a literary salon in Burgundy, tributes poured in from all sides, composing fragment by fragment the portrait of a rich and complex personality. ” He had many facets, summarizes his friend the editor Olivier Frébourg. But he knew how to compose a unit between these different universes. »

Starting with geographic horizons: born in Paris, in the Porte-Dorée district, on May 26, 1947, his heart was attached to his grandparents’ Corrèze all his life. Between the town of Auriac, where he lived for the most part, and the rue de l’Odéon, which he had made his Parisian village, Denis Tillinac reconciled worlds that were ignored.

« He was a sportsman, passionate about rugby, a carnal lover of life but he also had a real melancholy, says Olivier Frébourg. He loved Elvis Presley and the sacred painting of the XVIIe and XVIIIe centuries. He loved churches but had a sometimes contradictory relationship with religion, although he was very attached to it. He was genuinely right-wing, conservative, willingly reactionary, and loved hanging out with people on the left. »

Engaged on the right, admirer of De Gaulle, to whom he recently devoted a Love dictionary (1), traveling companion of Chirac, support of Sarkozy and, in recent years, columnist for the magazine Current values, Denis Tillinac was above all the champion of debate and friendship, beyond dissension.

A passionate editor

« For me, he was an old reactionary and for him, I was a dreadful leftist Catholic, but our friendship went far beyond ”, smiles with emotion Jean-Claude Guillebaud, evoking their meeting on the benches of the University of Bordeaux, their passionate discovery of the courses of Jacques Ellul then, in 1992, the creation, with Régis Debray, of their think tank Phares et Balises . The same year, Denis Tillinac took the reins of the Round Table editions, heir to the hussars he admired so much, Michel Déon and Roger Nimier.

« Coming from journalism, he had a vast curiosity and a great reactivity, says Alice Déon, who succeeded her at the head of the Round Table in 2008. All it took was a crush on him to launch a book. His enthusiasm and enthusiasm were beyond measure. »In 2019, in On the Bridge of Regrets (2), it is through poetry that he reveals himself: a passion for literature which, even more than political commitment, will have guided his life.


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