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The Politics of Molière

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's call for the exhumation and reburial of the French-Algerian writer Albert Camus in Paris recalls Molière's burial, which became a divisive political issue. "Molière, the shape-shifter extraordinaire of the seventeenth century had become by the late eighteenth century an icon of tremendous political value, as has Camus in our own day. Politicians will always need writers more than writers need politicians, which may go a long way in explaining the motives of both members of revolutions and presidents of republics. And as for the whereabouts of the 'august debris' of the illustrious playwright? Lodged quite nicely, thank you, in Paris’s Père Lachaise cemetery. At least for the time being."
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