World watch

October 15, 1999

Maurice Druon, the 81-year-old permanent secretary of the Academie Francaise, the body that guards the purity of the French language, has unprecedently announced he will retire at the end of the year from a post that holders traditionally leave only on death. A former culture minister under president Georges Pompidou, he was a driving force in the Academie's unsuccessful fight last year against the government's introduction of feminine forms of job titles which had previously been exclusively masculine, where posts were held by women.

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