Reception Nobel pour Patrick Modiano et Jean Tirole (8 decembre 2015) [sv]

Discours de M. Jacques Lapouge, Ambassadeur de France en Suède, à l’occasion de la réception Nobel à la résidence de France, pour Patrick Modiano et Jean Tirole le 8 décembre 2014.

"Dear Patrick Modiano, dear Jean Tirole,

It is a great honor to welcome you at the Residence de France and to celebrate with your families, your friends and your colleagues the Nobel prizes in Literature and Economy you will receive on Thursday from the hands of the King of Sweden.

For all those working with you, this distinction probably feels a bit like their own too. Of course the work of the writer is more solitary, but the Editions Gallimard are closely associated to Patrick Modiano’s novels and I am honored by the presence of Antoine Gallimard who has published so many Nobel laureates, French and foreign alike.

This collective dimension is even more obvious for Jean Tirole who, since his designation, has relentlessly paid tribute to the Toulouse School of Economics, which is in the top league in Europe, as a research center, an innovator in higher education and a leader in the transfer of modern economic tools to decision makers. I am glad that many representatives of the School could come to Stockholm as well as Colette Laffont, the wife of the co-founder of TSE, Jean-Jacques Laffont, who was also an extraordinary economist.

Finally, I would like to welcome Christophe Premat, member of the French parliament, and so many prominent guests from Sweden, Nobel academicians, officials, central bankers, ambassadors, academics, CEO, journalists, so many that I cannot name them. But thank you all, sincerely, for your presence

It would be very preposterous for the bureaucrat I am to embark on a review of Patrick Modiano’s work, and to align borrowed remarks on memory, the loss of identity, the streets of Paris and the period of the occupation. Or to try and explain what the work of Jean Tirole brought to the understanding of imperfect markets and the regulation of oligopolies.

Je pense en revanche être assez représentatif de tous ces Français qui ont éprouvé une joie et une fierté simples et sincères lorsque vous avez été désignés tous les deux.

Patrick Modiano, je suis d’une génération qui entrait dans l’adolescence lorsqu’est paru "La place de l’Etoile". Qui avait vingt ans au moment de vos grandes apparitions chez Bernard Pivot, que je suis très heureux de rencontrer aujourd’hui - même si je suis un peu inquiet de l’appréciation qu’il portera sur mon modeste vin de Bourgogne - et qui vient d’acquérir "Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier" . Bref vous avez accompagné nos vie, vous nous êtes familier, et c’est un signe qu’il soit si facile de trouver des partenaires pour jouer au jeu du "quel est ton Modiano préféré ?". Après tout rares sont les hommes qui sont à l’origine, de leur vivant, d’un adjectif, modianesque. Et c’est l’honneur de l’Académie Nobel que d’avoir reconnu combien une oeuvre aussi ancrée en France, historiquement et géographiquement, avait en même temps une dimension universelle, comment elle parlait à l’humanité entière.

A Jean Tirole, je dois dire que l’économie a été, quand j’étais étudiant, ma première passion intellectuelle. A l’époque, nous allions surtout chercher l’inspiration et les ouvrages de référence aux Etats-Unis et la culture économique des Français était assez faible. Les choses ont bien changé peut-être parce qu’avec la crise, l’économie s’est imposée dans la vie des Français et dans les médias. La science économique française est enfin reconnue. Vous êtes le troisième lauréat français et vos prédécesseurs, Gérard Debreu et Maurice Allais, avaient comme vous cette dimension mathématique que l’on associe volontiers à nos économistes.

Allow me to switch back to English and put my ambassador’s hat, to stress that these distinctions have also a meaning for the Swedish-French relationship.
First, because both prizes have been very well received here.

Patrick Modiano, you have been read in Sweden for a long time. Twelve of your novels have been translated, more are on the way, and I am glad that two of your translators and your most recent publisher, Elisabeth Grate, could be with us today.
The Swedish press has proposed very subtle and positive analysis of your main themes, including, last Saturday a map of Modiano’s Paris in Dagens Nyheter. I have just selected two recurring comments.
The first one is on your style. A critic said about « L’herbe des nuits » : « stylistically, the readers are accompanied in a way few writers are able to offer ». And a professor at Göteborg University adds : « his French is so good and classical that he is excellent reading for the students in French.
The other comment is on your humanity. Kristoff Leander, who is with us today, wrote that nobody better than you can paint the crepuscular world which is a part of the human condition. And he adds : « Ett pris till Patrick Modiano är ockso ett pris till papperslösa, statslösa, rättslosa » (donner un prix à Patrick Modiano c’est aussi le donner aux sans-papier, aux apatrides, aux sans droits).
I think everybody is well aware, now, that you also have a strong personal link with Sweden. And I am very touched that your franco-swedish grandson, Orson, could be here - certainly the youngest guest in the history of official lunches at this residence - with his parents, whom I have been admiring for years ; songs like "Drifters in the Wood" or "The story of the impossible" have spent a long time on my playlists.
Finally, I am probably not the only one to hope that some scenes of your future novels could be set under these latitudes. I have a feeling that the atmosphere of Swedish cities, that have inspired the formidable authors of Nordic crime, could attract a novelist who has repeatedly told his fondness for this genre.

Jean Tirole, your distinction has certainly not been a surprise for the Swedish commentators. Let me quote a few press titles : « Han uppfyller alla kriteria för att fo priset.." (il remplit tous les critères pour recevoir le prix), « Han var etta po min lista" (il était le numéro 1 sur ma liste), « Alla borde läsa Nobelpristagaren » (tout le monde devrait lire le prix Nobel).
One of the comments that appears regularly is the practical use of your theories, especially in the Swedish context : for example, a senior economist said : « I think his research contains many lessons for the Swedish regulator, especially now that we start discussing the question of profits made by private companies in the sector of welfare ».
And, symmetrically, I know that you often find inspiration in the Swedish practices or model, such as the role of altruism in economy or the functioning of the labor markets. For example, the fact that Scandinavians tend to protect the employees rather than the employment.
You also have been very active on the question of climate change, particularly the role of markets and emission trading schemes in fighting it, and you know that the success of the climate conference in Paris, in exactly one year from now, is a top priority for both our countries.

I would like to say, in concluding, that we are living an extraordinary fortnight for the friendship between Sweden and France. Indeed, just before this Nobel week in Stockholm, the King and the Queen of Sweden were paying a State visit to France, the first in 34 years. The visit has been very productive at many levels, political, businesswise, or for our scientific and cultural cooperation. And, mind you, their Majesties visited two French cities, Paris and Toulouse, which as everybody knows now are emblematic of our two laureates.

So please, let’s raise our glasses to the friendship between Sweden and France, and of course, first and foremost, to Patrick Modiano and to Jean Tirole.

Skål !”

Modifié le 14/10/2015

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