Emmanuel Macron rejects the idea of bringing Arthur Rimbaud into the Pantheon, following the will of the poet’s descendants, despite a petition to this effect in the name, in particular, of the recognition of the homophobia of which the poet was a victim.
“I do not wish to go against the will expressed by the family of the deceased. The remains of Arthur Rimbaud will not be moved” from the family vault of Charleville-Mézières, wrote the Head of State on Wednesday. family lawyer.
A petition called for the joint pantheonization of Arthur Rimbaud and his lover Paul Verlaine, signed by almost all the former ministers of Culture and supported by the current minister Roselyne Bachelot.
They are “two major poets of our language” and “also two symbols of diversity. They had to endure the relentless homophobia of their time. They are the French Oscar Wildes. It would only be fair to celebrate their memory today in bringing them jointly to the Pantheon, “wrote the petitioners, including famous writers, intellectuals, academics and academics.
In September Arthur Rimbaud’s great-great-niece, Jacqueline Teissier-Rimbaud, said her opposition to this double pantheonization, criticizing the emphasis placed on their relationship, a position shared by the association Les Amis de Rimbaud.
If they make their entrance to the Pantheon together, “everyone will think + homosexuals +, but that’s not true. Rimbaud didn’t start his life with Verlaine and didn’t end it with him, it’s just a few years of his youth, “Jacqueline Teissier-Rimbaud told AFP, specifying that her son and grandchildren shared her point of view.
“In general, the Friends of Rimbaud are inclined to think that what is proposed does not suit the character of Arthur”, had indicated to AFP its president Alain Tourneux. “Associating Rimbaud and Verlaine in a definitive way, ad vitam aeternam, is not possible, it is undoubtedly exaggerated”.
The Head of State, the only one empowered to decide who enters the necropolis of great men, decided in the negative, in the name of the will of the family, without mentioning in his letter the issue of recognition of homophobia.
“Given the particular role that the Pantheon plays in building a shared Republican memory, I do not wish to go against the will expressed by the family of the deceased,” he said.
Arthur Rimbaud “will remain buried alongside his family, in the family vault of the cemetery of Charleville-Mézières, his birthplace and last home”, adds Mr. Macron, paying homage to a “major figure of French literature, essential poet and spirit rebel”.
“President Macron has respected the wishes of the family. It is a gesture that she did not expect and that she appreciates. Emmanuel Macron was able to override the intellectual Parisian lobbies”, welcomed Me Emmanuel Ludot, lawyer of the Rimbaud family, to AFP.
– “A new Pantheon” –
Roselyne Bachelot, on the other hand, underlined the importance that such recognition of their homosexuality would have.
One of the authors of the petition, the writer Frédéric Martel, regretted the presidential decision on Thursday, lambasting “anti-gay” heirs and a “supposedly literate” president and calling for greater “diversity” in the crypt of the Pantheon .
“Rimbaud’s entry into the Pantheon is a long-term symbolic movement which consists in deinstitutionalizing the Pantheon, not in institutionalizing poetry. They are not self-proclaimed heirs, some sixty-eight anti-gay men, nor the elected supposedly literate of a breathless republican five-year term which will prevent the entry of poetry into the Pantheon, that of its greatest diversity, and the necessary recognition of the homophobia of which Verlaine and Rimbaud were the victims “, a- he reacted. “The time for a new Pantheon, closer to the French, more representative, will come, inexorably”.