17 February 2008 | msbsegal
Professor Robert Merle passed away in 2004
17 Feb 2008
I have just discovered that my revered Professor Robert Merle had passed away in 2004, and I feel a pinch in my heart.
He taught English Literature at the Paris University. He wrote his PhD thesis on Oscar Wilde and made some astounding revelation and discoveries, at that time. But he taught us also Shakespeare, Jane Austen, etc. My love of Austen' s novels come from sitting at his lectures.
At the beginning of WWII, Prof. Merle fled the debacle of the French Army; on the beach of Dunkirk he managed to get himself on the English boat that took him to free London, and this true story his very well depicted in "Weekend at Zuydcoote", which is a true biographical story, and very well played by Jean-Pierre Belmondo. I must say that he was twice taken prisoner by the Germans and interned in POW camps, from which he tried to escape. He told us, I remember very well, that we should be aware of sleeping on concrete slabs, but sleeping on wood was quite healthy. I did remember this good advice 20 years later...
He was a strong supporter of the Algerian Ben-Bella, who was of course murdered in a plane crash : if a man loves his country and wants the best for it, he should be killed.....
The late Professor Robert Merle, the tremendous author of "The Day of the Dolphin", and others, was a great lecturer; I will always remember his jokes, good humor and immense knowledge of the English Literature.
I am sad he is gone; I feel a slice of my youth is gone with him, even though I do have all the softening memories.