He is the researcher, poet, translator, innovator, academic, French professor, and Arabist who has mastered the Arabic language, and devoted his life to serving and defending it. His research is to delve into its depths and hunt for its gems, especially in translating the eyes of classical Arabic poetry, in which he specialized, into the language of Voltaire. Since his birth in the Mize countryside in the south of France in 1929, he turned his face towards the south of the Mediterranean, and dreamed of seeing palm trees whose fantasies appeared to him from behind the horizon of the northern bank, and his soul longed to embrace the beautiful East and discover the secrets of its ancient culture and civilization.
He got acquainted with the language of Dhad by chance in the forties of the last century, so he sailed in it and became enamored with it and defended it and raised its banner in all regions and horizons, until he finally became the ambassador of the Arab-Islamic civilization in the West. It is an encyclopedia and a "mobile Arab library" in which the East and the West intertwine. He is "the Arabist who converted to Islam as a civilization," as he used to say about himself.
And since he translated the poetry of “Majnoun Layla” Qais bin Al-Malouh and discovered his story, he became enamored of classical Arabic poetry, and a new madman in the Arab language, culture and civilization, and since he transferred to French the eyes of Arabic literature such as “Kalila wa Dimna” and “A Thousand and One Nights” he fell dead in the eyes of Scheherazade and her love He was swept away by Ibn Battuta's current and his miraculous journeys, and he traveled with him to the far reaches of the East and lost his will from his French-European anchor, to settle with his writings without a compass and without a return in the desert and Arab metropolises and clothed with the exotic characters in pre-Islamic poetry and the stories of Ibn al-Muqaffa and al-Ma'ari. This is the French historian Andre Michelle 1929-2022, who passed away last week at the age of 93.
After completing all the stages of learning Arabic and deepening it to the extent of obtaining a certificate of distinction, Mikkel became a professor specializing in Arab civilization in French universities beginning in 1968, and held the position of Director of the Institute of Languages of India, East and North Africa and its Civilizations at the University of Paris III.
In light of this love relationship, his view of Arabic literature was always emotional, horizontal, automatic, interactive, moving away from the arrogant, colonial view of the early orientalists. This view and the interdependent relationship was conscious, which made him declare in one of his meetings, saying, "I am an Arabist, and I am not an Orientalist.
Michael remained faithful until the last breath of his life to his first love, the East with all its charm and splendor, from which his first love was born, the language of adversity, in which he wrote most of his research and writings, and his poetry collection "Reciprocal Poems", which he issued in 2020 at the age of 91, was the best evidence of This rare and unique love affair, as he wrote it in the language of Al-Mutanabbi first and then translated it into French. And Mikel, in fact, acknowledges and is even proud of that, a statement rather than an insinuation, as he said in a dialogue, "Arabia will remain my mistress, whom I cannot betray, even if I wanted or tried."