Posted by: cochinblogger | May 14, 2012

In Flagrante Delicto: The Death of President Faure

I’m reading a popular account (Prime Obsession by John Derbyshire) of the most important unsolved mathematical problem today, the Riemann Hypothesis. More than the math, I find the the historical setting and the lives of the mathematicians who people the stage fascinating. From a discussion of the Dreyfus Affair, I came across this delectable tidbit:

There were impassioned trials, dramatic reversals, the suicide of one of the conspirators, and numerous other colorful events. (Perhaps the most colorful, not arising directly from the Affair but influencing its course, was the death of President Faure while he was in flagrante delicto with his mistress in a back bedroom at the Elysee Palace. He suffered a massive stroke and in his death agony seized the poor woman by the hair with such force she was unable to separate herself from him. Her screams brought the Palace servants, who disengaged the lady, dressed her, and hustled her out a side door.)


  1. What a way to go..
    I don’t know whether to feel empathy or envy!

    • The agony and ecstasy in its purest form, eh?

      Definitely not envy. It must be one of the most horrible ways to go.

      • Statistically, a man is far more likely to succumb whilst in flagrante with his lover, than with his wife.

        I suppose it’s all a matter of effort!

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