A new edition of “The Camp of the Saints,” published in France in 2011, became a best seller. Since then the us-vs.-them rhetoric has reached new readerships, many of them young, as Europe has faced a wave of immigration starting in 2015. In one of his last public appearances, in October, Mr. Raspail drew hundreds of fans for a book signing at a Parisian bookshop that promotes conservative writers.
In a foreword to the 2011 edition, he wrote that he was a “Français de souche, and proud to be so,” using an expression that, roughly translated, means people of French stock or of white European descent, a term often used in far-right circles. He predicted that the “white race” would be overwhelmed in the 2040s or 2050s.
He is survived by his wife, Aliette; a son, Quentin; a daughter, Marion; two grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
His funeral on Wednesday was one of the first large-scale gatherings in Paris since France eased measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right party National Rally, has often cited “The Camp of the Saints” as a source of inspiration, having read it when she was 18, she s aid. On the day of Mr. Raspail’s death, she urged her Twitter followers to read the book, or to read it again.
For many of his supporters, what distinguished Mr. Raspail was not his xenophobia but the myth he had created around the territory of Patagonia, which spans Chile and Argentina. (He had jokingly declared himself consul general of it.)
“He had created his own world and community through his books in Patagonia,” said a longtime friend, Philippe de Villiers, a conservative writer and the founder of Le Puy du Fou, a historical theme park in western France. He added, “He knew that what matters for a population is its collective imagination.”