Marc Fumaroli, Champion of Civilization and the Arts

Institut de France in Paris, France (Britus/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
Two weeks ago, Marc Fumaroli passed away. The revered historian spent his life defending the French language, the Western canon, and civilization at large.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE O n June 24, the French intellectual elite lost one of its most revered members: Marc Fumaroli. Infuriating to some, inspiring to most, the historian and literary scholar left an ineffaceable mark on France’s cultural landscape.

The son of a diplomat and a schoolteacher, Fumaroli grew up in Algeria and Morocco. After a peaceful but uneventful childhood, the future academic started his military service in the midst of the Algerian War. Faced with violence, misery, struggle, and vanishing hopes, the young man took refuge in literature. Descartes once wrote that “the reading of all good books is like a conversation with the

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