Maurice Druon’s Tistou and His Green Thumbs: A Leap from Egophilia to Ecophilia

Zaynul Abedin


An illegitimate son of a Russian Jewish immigrant, born in Paris on April 23, 1918 and one of the France’s most prolific men of letters, Maurice Druon made a name for himself as a patriotic egophiliac. Through his critically acclaimed series of historical novels, Les Rois Maudits, and Les Grandes Familles, for example, he intended to revive the long-lost French medieval egotistic glory. With his wartime resistance hymn, “Chant des Partisans”, which he and his uncle, Joseph Kessel, adapted from the Russian-born troubadour Anna Marly’s lyric song, he infused a strong sense of ego in the French fighters against the German wartime occupiers. It was for all such contributions to nation building and for his unflinching determination to promote French linguistic and political culture that he was made Minister of Cultural Affairs in Pierre Messmer’s cabinet (1973-1974), a Deputy of Paris (1978-1981) and a ‘perpetual secretary’ of the Académie Francaise. But in between his writing Les Rois Maudits, as he said in the preface to the story, he wanted to try his hands in something else and ended up writing Tistou Les Pouces Verts. This paper makes use of the properties of ecocritical theory in order to investigate the importance of Maurice Druon’s stride from egotistic to eco-conscious writing meant for children.


Maurice Druon, Ecocriticism, Wilderness, Pastoral, Children’s Literature, Comparative Literature, Apocalypse

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