(Paris) The novelist and essayist Chantal Thomas was elected Thursday to the French Academy, in the chair formerly occupied by Jean d’Ormesson, and became the tenth academician in history, announced the institution.
Only 24 academics were able to participate in the ballot, including 8 who voted blank. Mme Thomas was elected in the first round, with 12 votes against 3 to lexicologist Jean Pruvost, and singer-songwriter Philippe Chatel.
Chantal Thomas, 75, is a specialist of the Age of Enlightenment, with essays on Sade, Casanova or Marie-Antoinette.
“She is also the author of short stories, stories, plays and novels, including farewell to the Queen, a work translated into some twenty languages, and for which it won the 2002 Femina prize, ”the Academy recalled on its website.
She is an admirer of the semiologist Roland Barthes, who had directed his doctoral thesis on Sade, and of the Austrian novelist and playwright Thomas Bernhard.
The candidacy of Mr. Pruvost, an academic recognized for his in-depth knowledge of the French language, had been welcomed by some outside the French Academy. He could be represented there quickly, since there are six vacant seats out of the 40.