Writers, scientists, painters… but also sometimes controversial events. In charge since this year of choosing the birthdays officially commemorated by the State, the organization France Mémoire was to publish, Friday, October 15, the list of the figures and the episodes of the history which will be put forward in 2022. In total, 52 dates have been ticked, corresponding to fiftieth or centenarians, even bicentenarians and tricentenarians.
Unsurprisingly, many artists appear in this list, such as Molière, whose 400th birthday will be commemorated on January 15, Marcel Proust (centenary of his death on November 18), Joachim du Bellay (500 years since his birth on 22 May), Théophile Gautier (150 years since his death on October 23), Iannis Xenakis (centenary of his birth on May 29), Jules Romains (fiftieth anniversary of his death on August 14) or Gérard Philipe (centenary of his birth on May 4) December).
Science will also be particularly in the spotlight, with the bicentenary of the birth of Louis Pasteur (December 27), the centenary of the election of Marie Curie to the Academy of Medicine, the first of a woman (the 7 February), or the bicentenary of the first translation of hieroglyphs by Jean-François Champollion (September 27). “This list also makes it possible to make certain subjects or people known, such as Alphonse Laveran, who discovered the malaria parasite, whose centenary of death will be celebrated on May 18”, explains historian Yves Bruley, director of France Mémoire.
The laying of the first stone of the Great Mosque of Paris
Less consensual, the organization hosted by the Institut de France also chose to commemorate in 2022 the Saint-Barthélémy massacre, perpetrated on August 24, 1572. “It is a date which marked the history of France and it seemed appropriate to us to put it forward, particularly in view of the question of the treatment of religions”, pleads Yves Bruley. Likewise, the coronation of Louis XV in Reims, on October 25, 1722, or the laying of the first stone of the Great Mosque of Paris, on October 19, 1922, will be honored. But no question of pouring into glorification. ” The idea is not to say what is right or wrong. We take history as it is, without bias. This year, we commemorated both Napoleon and the Commune ”, recalls the historian.
To establish its list of anniversaries, France Mémoire calls on a scientific council made up of two members from each of the five academies hosted by the Institut de France (French Academy, of sciences, of fine arts, of moral and political sciences, inscriptions and belles-lettres), an institution placed under the protection of the President of the Republic but independent of the State. “The 450 academics bring their expertise and the list is established in a consensual manner”, assures Yves Bruley.
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