Jean Malaurie, dying of the Arctic explorer at 101 | EUROtoday

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IHe entered the legend on May 29, 1951… by changing into, on the age of 29, the primary European to achieve the North Pole by canine ​​sled. An exploit to which he systematically related the Inuit information who accompanied him (Kutsikitsoq). Jean Malaurie died on Monday February 5, 2024 on the age of 101, his household introduced.

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He was born on December 22, 1922, in Mainz (Germany), the place his father, an affiliate professor, was instructing on the time. In his household, till then, we had been shipowners on his father's facet, or navigators on his mom's (Scottish) facet. Suffice to say that his DNA appeared to destin him for journey. However, it was in direction of literary coaching in khâgne on the Lycée Henri-IV that he turned after learning on the Lycée Hoche de Saint-Cloud and Condorcet in Paris.

His father died when he was 17. Required to go to work in Germany in 1940 beneath the Compulsory Labor Service (STO), he refused to obey. Refractory, he joined the Resistance. All his life, he displayed a rebellious facet.

At the Liberation, unable to hitch the École Normale Supérieure, he joined the Institute of Geography on the University of Paris. There he adopted the teachings of Emmanuel de Martonne who had been the grasp of Julien Gracq, a decade earlier. His first analysis work in geology led him to take part in two expeditions of Paul-Émile Victor to Greenland in 1948 and 1949.

On this event, the boy found Inuit tradition. But, attributable to lack of funding, he needed to change his topic of research shortly after. He then turns to a different desert (this one burning): the Hoggar, in Algeria. The National Center for Scientific Research, to which he had been connected since leaving college, despatched him again to Greenland in 1950 for a research of the geomorphology of the Thule area.

Love at first sight for Thule

It was because of this mission, which lasted till June 1951, that he reached the geomagnetic pole within the firm of his trustworthy Inuit information Kutsikitsoq, who nicknamed him “the man who speaks to stones” due to his his ardour for geology. On his return to France, the explorer married on December 27, 1951 the daughter of considered one of Marie Curie's closest collaborators.

From this union with Monique Laporte (died on October 27, 2023) two kids shall be born. A son first: Guillaume, born in 1952. Jean Malaurie will give the identify of his Inuit buddy (as a second identify) to this eldest son. In the identical means, he’ll identify his daughter Éléonore-Ikuma in homage to the companion of this information.

Throughout his life, Jean Malaurie by no means stopped paying tribute to Kutsikitsoq who was each his touring companion on the icy plains and his information in Inuit tradition. “It was thanks to him that I learned, little by little, to listen to the responses of rocks and vegetation, supporting my reflections as a natural geomorphologist on the relationships that the Inuit have with their territory,” defined the 'Explorer.

READ ALSO Nigel Barley, the anthropologist who questions the notion of identificationDuring this 18-month initiatory journey inside this remoted neighborhood, Jean Malaurie introduced again a wealth of data which allowed him to elucidate the “relationships of kinship and courtesy” that its members preserve, and particularly the methods that they’ve put in place to keep away from inbreeding issues. This anthropological work led him to reconstruct the household tree of this clan over 4 generations.

Jean Malaurie seems to be on the symbolism of the myths surrounding the crow (the tulugaq): this primordial chook which seems in dozens of native legends. He can be within the psychology of the Inuit individuals and particularly in deep despair (perlerorneq) which generally results in assaults of self-destructive hysteria.

The explorer will return to the positioning quite a few occasions over the course of round thirty, typically solitary, expeditions. And he wrote greater than fifteen books on the tradition of the peoples of the Far North, whose environmental destruction he noticed with desolation.

First books

His first title appeared in 1954 by Fernand Nathan. But it's not concerning the Arctic. This is his logbook from his exploration of the Algerian desert 4 years in the past. It is because of his second work (The Last Kings of Thule, printed by Plon in 1955) that Jean Malaurie would turn out to be well-known. This research, dedicated to the traditions and methods of lifetime of the Inuit individuals, reads like a novel. The basic public discovers, because of him, a world wherein man maintains with nature, in its triple sense of animal, mineral and plant, a relationship positioned beneath the signal of shamanism. A non secular observe which, based on Malaurie, tracks “networks of signs reflecting the secret harmonies of the Cosmos”.

The bookstore success of this work inspired Charles Orengo, its writer, to simply accept Malaurie's thought of ​​creating a set referred to as “Terre Humaine”. The younger researcher was then 31 years previous. It goals to “give a voice to populations with oral culture”. Its objective is to disseminate the first-person accounts of these whom James Agee (an writer of the gathering who wrote concerning the small sharecroppers of the American South) calls the “truly great men”: these inspiring and nameless figures who attempt to reside in concord with their atmosphere.

READ ALSO The Earth continues to be humanTerre Humaine will, in truth, enable us to find the future of those people “without concern for class, discipline or parochialism” and can contribute to “breaking down the barrier between those who know and others, by making the joy of understanding accessible to all . And by helping to reestablish this part of primary sensitivity, this truth of the “I” and the intimate so despised by our scientists within the identify of scientific objectivity,” he writes within the presentation discover for his “house”.

This assortment is healthier than a land of freedom. It is a bridge between social sciences and literature. “A revolution that has lasted for 60 years with, as its horizon, the testimony of the invisible. It could be an outcast, a man living in the streets of Paris, or a shaman from the Amazon who mix, within this collection, their voices and words with those of renowned academics or writers, such as Claude Lévi -Strauss or Émile Zola”, summed up Jean Malaurie throughout the anniversary of his assortment, in 2015.

Editor of Claude Lévi-Strauss

This daring gamble paid off. By publishing the sixth e-book by a 47-year-old French ethnologist who has labored for twenty years on Amerindian communities in Brazil, Jean Malaurie has achieved an outstanding editorial coup. Sad Tropics by Claude Lévi-Strauss will, in truth, completely settle on the high of all bestseller lists. One million copies had been offered between 1955 and 1956 and the title was translated into practically thirty languages.

For six many years, Jean Malaurie presided over the future of this assortment the place he welcomed the largest names in trendy anthropology: Georges Balandier, Don Talayesva, but in addition Margaret Mead, Theodora Kroeber, Jacques Soustelle and Pierre Clastres. After nearly 90 publications, he’ll go the baton to Jean-Christophe Rufin in 2020.

A powerful, charismatic and pleasant man, Jean Malaurie may have established, because of this assortment, privileged relationships with all the nice vacationers of his time. Its places of work, near Place Saint-Sulpice in Paris, will function a house base for these explorers who won’t all have cleared distant horizons. One of Terre Humaine's nice successes of the Seventies, The Horse of Pride by Pierre-Jacques Hélias, takes his readers to Brittany. It was tailored for the cinema in 1980 by Claude Chabrol.

Environmental Defender

On April 9, 1962, Jean Malaurie defended his first doctoral thesis on the Sorbonne on “the climatic and quantitative geomorphology of Thule”. The mapping of this area over greater than 300 km of shoreline, north of the Humboldt glacier, constituted the framework of this analysis work which led him to find beforehand unknown coves. Jean Malaurie had enjoyable baptizing them with French names. This is how a Paris fjord exists up there!

It was throughout these topographical surveys that Jean Malaurie found a secret air base constructed by the United States. It was to serve, for greater than thirty years, as a takeoff runway for planes spying on the Soviet Union. Jean Malaurie pleaded, all his life, in useless, for the closure of this airport after the accident of an American bomber on January 21, 1968. This B-52 was carrying 4 nuclear warheads. Three of them had been recovered, however considered one of these bombs was by no means discovered.

In his books, Jean Malaurie insisted, from the Seventies, on the necessity to defend Nuna, Mother Earth in Inuit terminology. “This one is in too much pain. She will take revenge. And already the signs are being announced,” he wrote, noting the disastrous results of worldwide warming on the environmental, socio-economic and political balances of the inhabitants of Greenland. “The first peoples are our scouts. Their teachings are to be meditated on if we want to protect ourselves from our follies by recalling the eternal laws of Nature,” he mentioned.

The phrase of silence

Attentive to “the word of silence”, as he himself expressed it, Jean Malaurie adhered to the spirituality of the individuals of Thule. He devoted his second thesis in anthropogeography to the research of Inuit animist beliefs that the shaman Uutaaq had taught him. In current years, the explorer has been trying all over the place for “energies and the rustle of meaning”. For him, the research of stone (ujaraq) and the research of man (Inuk) had been inseparable. In his eyes, one couldn’t perceive the intelligence of the soul with out capturing that of the cosmos. This adherence to Inuit spirituality generally led him to doubt whether or not he had been born within the physique of a qallunaat (time period by which the Inuit designate white individuals).

In 1990, whereas main the primary Franco-Soviet expedition to Chukotka, the journey author found the Alley of Whales: a mecca of shamanism. Made up of an alignment of cetacean bones, exhumed by Russian archaeologists in 1976, this web site appeared to him because the “Delphi of the Arctic”. It is on the coronary heart of this pile of whale skulls testifying to the cult of a spirit designated beneath the identify of Yi-King that Jean Malaurie mentioned he skilled like a “revelation”.

A treasured legacy

Passionate about pictures, the explorer has gathered, over sixty years of exploration, a corpus of greater than 15,000 distinctive pictures taken from Greenland to Siberia through Alaska. A treasured assortment that he bequeathed to the Natural History Museum and which he introduced as a part of Eskimo reminiscence. “The establishment of my archives within the Museum is fully justified: France played a major role in the exploration of the poles, the Museum was naturally associated with it, and its library, like its collections of specimens, particularly in ornithology and in geology, reflect the history of French Arctic and Antarctic expeditions since the 16the century,” he mentioned.

An ardent defender of the boreal minorities, he was to publish, within the twilight of his life, two vibrant pleas in favor of the Inuit individuals and the preservation of the Arctic. Dare, resist printed by CNRS and Letter to an Inuit from 2022 (Hatchet). In his Memoirs, printed by Terre Humaine, in October 2022: From stone to soul, Jean Malaurie reiterated his love for this neighborhood to which he had needed to say goodbye, earlier than isolating himself at his house in Dieppe. He made this final journey to the Arctic two years after a coronary heart assault which just about killed him. It was 1999. He was 77 years previous.