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An award-winning French philosopher, who advocated risk-taking in life, has died trying to save two children from drowning.
Anne Dufourmantelle had been bathing on a beach in Ramatuelle – a seaside commune in France’s Côte d’Azur region – on July 21 when she entered the water to save two struggling children, according to local news site France 3 Régions.
The tide had turned rough due to an easterly wind, and the beach’s warning flag was changed from orange to red – a signal that the water was too dangerous for bathing. Dufourmantelle entered the water as the conditions changed and was swept out to sea in a strong current.
Lifeguards on duty were unable to resuscitate the 53-year-old philosopher, France 3 Régions reported. One of Dufourmantelle’s rescuers was even taken to hospital following his intervention, for stage two drowning – a condition characterised by the presence water in the stomach and breathing difficulties.
The children, however, were saved.
Dufourmantelle’s decorated career
Dufourmantelle earned degrees from Paris-Sorbonne and Brown universities and taught philosophy and psychoanalysis at various universities including New York University.
She was a prolific writer who published works on subjects including the role of mothers, dreams, and sexuality. In 1998, she won the Raymond de Boyer de Sainte-Suzanne prize, an honour given by the Academie Française to authors of philosophy or contemporary religion.
In a 2016 interview with M, Le Monde’s magazine, Dufourmantelle said: “Life, as a whole, is a risk. To live without taking risks is not living.”
Tributes to the philosopher
Dufourmantelle’s funeral is scheduled to take place in Ramatuelle on July 25, according to her partner, the writer Frédéric Boyer. Meanwhile, tributes were paid to deceased philosopher on social media:
Émotions suite au décès d'Anne Dufourmantelle. Grande philosophe, psychanalyste, elle nous aidait à vivre, à penser le monde d'aujourd'hui.
— Francoise Nyssen (@FrancoiseNyssen) July 23, 2017
Dufourmantelle was a “great philosopher and psychoanalyst” who “helped us live and think about the world today,” wrote Francoise Nyssen, France’s Culture Minister.
Anne Dufourmantelle: life begins with risk, she asserted; her life ended when she selflessly took the risk to save two children.
— Gopalan Ramachandran (@ramachgramach) July 24, 2017
Tristesse et stupeur d'apprendre à l'instant la mort de la philosophe et psychanalyste Anne Dufourmantelle, qui parlait si bien des rêves. pic.twitter.com/JEZ1pXJbn7
— Raphaël Enthoven (@Enthoven_R) July 23, 2017
“Sad and shocked to learn about the death of the philosopher and psychoanalyst Anne Dufourmantelle, who spoke about dreams so well,” wrote French philosopher Raphaël Enthoven.
A beautiful woman inside & outside, warm personality, sharp thought, elegant, modest, generous and inspiring. I will miss you ma belle… https://t.co/VKnKlillGr
— Hilda Fernandez (@serfeerico) July 24, 2017