Historian Hélène Carrère d’Encausse Passes Away
The historian Hélène Carrère d’Encausse, the first woman to head the French Academy and a great specialist in Russia, died on Saturday, August 5 in Paris at the age of 94. “She passed away peacefully surrounded by her family,” her children – presenter and doctor Marina Carrère d’Encausse, her sister lawyer Nathalie and her brother writer Emmanuel – said in a statement. Perpetual Secretary of the Academy since 1999, she had indicated that she should be called “Madame le Secrétaire perpétuel”, without feminizing the function. Because, according to her, “there has been only one Perpetual Secretary for three and a half centuries. It is this idea of continuity that must prevail. It is a lineage that continues”.
Reactions to the Announcement of her Death
At the announcement of her death, the reactions were immediate. “A major historian, she was the first woman Perpetual Secretary of the French Academy. Like her, her legacy is immortal,” praised President Emmanuel Macron – currently on vacation at Fort de Brégançon with his wife Brigitte Macron – in a message on the X platform (formerly Twitter). “Hélène Carrère d’Encausse lived, until the end, to defend the richness of the French language with a federative energy. A convinced European, she was free and tenacious in her commitments,” posted Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak. Former President Nicolas Sarkozy said on X and Instagram he remembered “her great intelligence, her sense of humor and her commitment to freedom”. And Marine Le Pen saluted the memory of a woman “whom the torments of history had deprived of a homeland but who chose France out of love for our civilization”.
Tributes to the Memory of Hélène Carrère d’Encausse
“She embodied, firmly and courageously, for a long time, what intelligence and knowledge beyond the ordinary can bring the best to a society,” praised Xavier Darcos, Chancellor of the Institute of France and member of the French Academy. “She was a great lady of Letters and Arts,” finally noted former Culture Minister and current President of the Institute of the Arab World Jack Lang on BFMTV.