Page last updated at 18:01 GMT, Monday, 23 November 2009

Calls to drop the idea of re-interring Camus

Albert Camus
Albert Camus died in a car crash in 1960

A friend and biographer of Albert Camus has joined opposition to the idea of moving the legendary French author's remains to Paris.

Olivier Todd told the BBC that the proposal would contradict the whole of Camus' life and work.

President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested last week relocating Camus' remains to the Pantheon, the resting place for French national heroes.

Camus' remains are buried in the southern French village of Lourmarin.

Author of The Outsider and The Fall, Camus was killed in a car crash in 1960 at the age of 46.

A Nobel Prize-winner, Camus was seen as non-conformist and politically from the left.

Speaking last week, centre-right President Sarkozy said no decision had been taken, but it would be highly symbolic to have Albert Camus interred at the Pantheon.

He told reporters at last week's European Union summit that it would be "a particularly pertinent choice" in time for the 50th anniversary of the author's death in January.

But speaking to the BBC's PM programme, Mr Todd labelled the idea a "stupid gambit".

"Throughout his life, he refused honours," he said.

"He accepted the Nobel Prize but only to speak out about the fate of Algeria and the French population of Algeria".

Members of Camus' family have been contacted by the French authorities and their approval would be needed.

His daughter, Catherine, has told French radio that she has doubts about the idea.

Her brother, Jean, was quoted in Le Monde as saying it would contradict what Camus stood for.

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