Race Lines and the Rhetoric of Distinction through the Académie française
Chapter 3–Literal Exclusions: From Academically Exclusive to Social Disgrace 63
Chapter 3 Literal Exclusions: From Academically Exclusive to Social Disgrace One of the most important mysteries of the Académie is that, beyond the in- direct exclusions, there have been literal, decisive ones amounting to no less than disgrace when the recipient had fulfilled all that was required, had gone through the trials of candidacy, had been elected and received, and later ex- cluded… thrown out of the “illustrious” Compagnie of “Immortals.” The first Académicien to be literally excluded was Granier, about just a year into the history of the Académie. That in itself signaled, early on, the imperfection and the precarious guarantee—in terms of distinction—of the ones destined or supposed to be “immortals.” Although the detailed reasons for this early exclusion may be sketchy, what researchers have found out points to issues of basic morality. According to René Kerviler, “It is known that the first exclusion was that of Auger de Monléon, sieur de Granier, one of the first forty Académiciens and the editor of the memoirs of Queen Mar- guerite, accused of infidelity.” (Kerviler, p.66) But Jean-Pol Caput held that Granier was accused of something else, which violated one of the rules re- garding morality: “If an Académicien makes an action unworthy of a man of honor, he will be interdicted or dismissed according to the importance of his lapse.’ It was applied, but discretely, to Granier de Monléon, convicted of swindling.” (Caput, p.99) In any case, this shows the...
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