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“Sad Era, Villainous Affair“

The Dreyfus Affair in the Notebooks of Henri Vever

Willa Z. Silverman

This article analyzes representations of the Dreyfus Affair in the private diaries written between 1898 and 1901 by Henri Vever, a prominent Art Nouveau jeweler, art collector, and small-town mayor. The important place accorded the Affair in these “ordinary writings“ by an individual with no direct engagement in it offers an opportunity to assess how historical events become enmeshed with private life, mentalités, and sociability. Further, Vever's notebooks reveal position taking during the Affair as a complex phenomenon, in Vever's case influenced by circumstances encompassing his identity as both a native of Lorraine, marked by France's defeat in 1870, and a Republican notable and Parisian businessman. While Vever's notebooks corroborate some standard themes of Dreyfus Affair historiography, including the importance of the press and the eclipsing of the Affair by the 1900 World's Fair, they also nuance the idea of a rigid ideological division between Dreyfusards and anti-Dreyfusards.

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Zvi Jonathan Kaplan

The Dreyfus Affair evolved into a vital symbol for the proponents of the separation of church and state. While the clerical anti-Dreyfusards turned the arrest and conviction of Alfred Dreyfus into an attack on both Jews and the Republic, the anticlerical Dreyfusards successfully used the Dreyfus Affair to achieve their political objectives. While for practical purposes Jewish leaders were more aligned with the anticlerical camp, they did not enthusiastically welcome the law on separation. If one applies the label “Dreyfusard” to those who cloaked their anticlericalism in their battle to rehabilitate Dreyfus, then the representatives of French Jewry, who did not have a radical position to cloak, were not genuine Dreyfusards. They were not driven by ideology but rather by pragmatic political and social considerations resulting from the rise of anti-Semitism emanating from clerical corners. For Jewish leaders, separation was a byproduct of the Affair. For the anticlerical Dreyfusards, separation was the goal.

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Jules Vallès and Séverine

Romantic Socialism and the Afterlife of a Cross-Sex Friendship in French Political Culture, 1880–1929

Michael Mulvey

, a devoted champion of Séverine’s journalism, condescendingly attributed her talent to a unique ability “to break the chains that nature has placed on the feminine intellect.” 119 The Dreyfus Affair Amidst the Dreyfus affair (1894–1906), however

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Redefining the Engagé

Intellectual Identity in Fin de Siècle France

Sarah Shurts

There is a tendency to see the history of intellectual engagement during the Dreyfus Affair as a study of the Dreyfusard Left. However, this approach marginalizes the existence of self-proclaimed intellectuals of the anti-Dreyfusard Right and diminishes our appreciation of the complexity of the debates. This article explores the efforts of self-proclaimed anti-Dreyfusard intellectuals, such as Maurice Barrès, to claim the title of intellectual, redefine intellectual responsibility according to right-wing values, and reconstruct intellectual collective identity around their own social and cultural experience.

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Re-thinking Antimilitarism

France 1898-1914

Elizabeth Propes

Conservative French nationalists had successfully labeled antimilitarism as antinationalist in the two decades preceding World War I. Because some of the more vocal antimilitarists were also involved in anarchist and radical Marxist organizations, historians largely have accepted this antinationalist label while also arguing that French nationalism had lost its connections to the French Revolution and become a more extremist, protofascist movement. A closer look at mainstream antimilitarist arguments, however, reveals the continued existence of the republican nationalism that had dominated the nineteenth century and shows that antimilitarists did not reject their nation. Instead, antimilitarists sought to protect the Republic, which they saw as synonymous with the nation, against an increasingly conservative, anti-Republic military and conservative nationalists, whom antimilitarists saw as a danger to a republican France.

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Beyond Left and Right

New Perspectives on the Politics of the Third Republic

Linda E. Mitchell

The articles in this issue all reflect on the various ways in which political trends during the period of the Third Republic have been categorized by both historians of the period and the political actors themselves. Ranging in topic from political trends in the French military in the years after the Dreyfus Affair to the participation of women in the politics of the extreme Right, these pieces focus especially on the need to transcend categories of Left and Right in order to discuss more accurately the ways in which the political party system developed, in particular during the years between the world wars.

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Susan Stedman Jones

This paper explores the nature of Durkheim’s theoretical language concerning the whole and the individual. I look at the questions of holism and individualism throughout his thought, but I particularly focus on ‘L’individualisme et les intellectuels’, where he enters the debate over the Dreyfus affair, espousing the language of intellectual and moral right. I examine the historical and philosophical background of this and the tensions between individualism and socialism, within neglected aspects of French political history. Here a new language of individuality and right was forged, not simply through the pressure of events, but through a re-thinking of socialist holism from within a philosophical tradition.

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David, Émile

Les ambivalences de l’identité juive de Durkheim

Matthieu Béra

This is based on research that has discovered crucial, hitherto unknown biographical information. First, I review the theories of authors who helped to generate the whole 'affair' of Durkheim's two pre-names, most often in seeing it as a way to interrogate his relation with Judaism. Next, I discuss how the issue comes with elements that are incomplete or inexact. It is then to present new evidence of Durkheim's ambivalence and changing attitude towards his first, identifiably Jewish pre-name. The census records during his time at Bordeaux show that he registered himself as 'David' in 1891 and 1896, but abandoned this and switched to 'Émile' in 1901. Accordingly, I examine possible interpretations of the change, in terms of the political context of the Dreyfus Affair, events in his family life, his institutional position, his growing reputation, and a programme of research in which he resolved on a scientific treatment of religion.

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Eduardo Cintra Torres

This article aims to bring out Durkheim's development of a pioneering sociology of the crowd, overlapping with yet going beyond psychological theories of the time. It begins by exploring the terminology used by Durkheim, colleagues and contemporaries in referring to crowds/gatherings/assemblies, and next asks about the social, political and intellectual context in which 'the crowd' became a key issue, as in the Dreyfus Affair and among writers such as Tarde. It then focuses on the issue's discussion in Durkheim's new journal, the Année sociologique, as well as in his own major works, but above all in Les Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse, which offers a seminal, if concealed, sociology of the crowd.

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Aurelian Craiutu

In a witty entry written in 1987 for a hypothetical dictionary to be published at the dawn of the new millennium, Bernard Henri-Lévy proposed the following definition of the intellectual: “Noun, masculine gender, a social and cultural category born in Paris at the moment of the Dreyfus Affair, died in Paris at the end of the twentieth century; apparently was not able to survive the decline in belief in Universals” (506). Twenty-five years later, intellectuals continue to exist on both banks of the Seine but their current prestige no longer matches the one they once enjoyed in the City of Light. Over the course of the last three centuries, intellectuals in France have occupied a prominent position in politics and society, and their voices have extended beyond the ivory tower of academia. More so than any other country in the world (with the possible exception of Russia), France demonstrates the extent to which people’s daily life can be influenced directly by intricate and abstruse works of literature, sociology, and philosophy. This constitutes the subject of Jeremy Jennings’s new book, Revolution and the Republic, a history of modern French political thought since the eighteenth century.