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Edouard Bled

Edouard Bled, the man who has taught generations of French schoolchildren how to spell, has died aged 97. The first of his celebrated series of grammar textbooks, Cours d'orthographe - universally known simply as Bled and recognisable by its blue cover and design of a red typewriter and quill pen - was published in 1946, and the books remain the standard manuals used in primary schools throughout France over half a century later.

He started his career in 1926 as a primary school teacher, rose to the post of principal ten years later and retired from teaching in 1960. He was decorated with the Legion of Honour, among other awards. His wife Odette, co-author of the series, died in 1991.

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