“Phrases shoot up like geysers out of your pen, tumble in cascades, swirl about, stumble upon one another, are by no means at relaxation,” Ms. Bona stated, describing Mr. Grainville’s work within the conventional induction speech. “You might be, sir, a author of jubilation.”

There was no trace of the social upheaval that has torn France aside in latest months. And there prevailed a sure imaginative and prescient of French historical past, within the straightforward invocation of former members of the academy, celebrated French writers with doubtful wartime collaborationist pasts like Henry de Montherlant, cited by Mr. Grainville as a mentor.

As with different ceremonious and antiquated French establishments, the pomp gives its personal justification, even for individuals who harbor reservations about it. The academy for them represents France’s consecration of its writers, a virtually distinctive nationwide standing.

“It was the thought of getting on the magic merry-go-round,” stated the sharp-witted novelist Charles Dantzig, who was inspired to use after successful the academy’s prize, after which misplaced in latest balloting.

“It was the thought of safety,” he stated of the enchantment of being a member. ‘‘Illusory, little doubt.”

Certainly, the bizarre nature of the academy’s mission, in a world the place a lot of what’s it celebrates is underneath siege, leaves some members pessimistic it may well shield even itself.

“French society: Will it proceed?” requested Mr. Rouart.

Then he answered his personal query. “The bourgeoisie is dying,” Mr. Rouart grumbled. Earlier than, “you’ll see the academy members at dinner events. Now there aren’t even dinner events. It’s completed.”


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