Geoffrey Wheatcroft

A Severe Antidote for Francophilia

Crime and the Académie Française

By

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Philia is a dangerous complaint, in whatever form. When Americans succumb to Anglophilia the condition is like a brain tumour: usually incurable and sometimes terminal. Among the English the most acute variety is Italophilia, though it is worth remembering that Germanophilia was even more virulent among our educated classes in the last half of the last century. But none of these has so long a history as Francophilia. ‘French flu’ is still an affliction which lays low many Englishmen (and Englishwomen also: poor Nancy Mitford was a particularly tragic case).

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