The Making of the Mendes Myth

Readers of Zuleika Dobson will recall the occasion when Mr Pedby, the Junior Fellow, read grace. As they listened to the false quantities of his Latin, the occupants of the high table experienced an unusual pleasure. They knew that they were present at an occasion which was to become an Oxford Legend.

Those who were present in Paris at the recent seminar on Pierre Mendes France 1954-1955, might well have wondered whether they too were not witnesses of a myth in the making. The organisers had spent three years preparing for this meeting (and had begun their preparations well before the death of Mendes France in October 1982); some eighty eminent people were interviewed and the texts of these interviews are to be published; at the colloque no less than fifty papers were presented, and the discussions were spread over three days. All this concerning the Mendes France government which lasted for seven months and seventeen days.

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