Le marchand de la mort est mort

There’s an interesting connection between the Nobel Prize and France. In 1888, Alfred Nobel’s brother died while on vacation in Cannes in the south of France. An overzealous journalist got the facts wrong and reported that “Le marchand de la mort est mort” (luh marshahn duh lah mor ay mor) or “The merchant of death is dead.” Nobel read his own obituary, and it shocked him. It said, “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” Ouch!

Nobel decided that it was time to consider his personal legacy. The inventor of dynamite signed his will on November 27, 1895 at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris. The vast majority of his estate (94%) was set aside to establish the Nobel Prizes. There are five annual prizes: physics, chemistry, medicine or physiology, literature, and peace. Since 1901, French men and women or organizations have won 65 awards, including Médecins sans Frontières, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Marie Curie (twice). Only three countries have more laureates than France (Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States).


The Impossible Takes Longer: The 1,000 Wisest Things Ever Said By Nobel Prize Laureates

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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2 Responses to Le marchand de la mort est mort

  1. Norman Ball says:

    Thank you for reminding readers of how life sometimes surprises us and it might be wise spend some time thinking about how we will be remembered, if at all. It is a wonderful story and deserves to be known outside the narrow circles such as those occupied by historians of technology and explosives, diplomacy, philanthropy and a few other areas. I might add I have been enjoying your posts on carols. Thanks

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