Synopses & Reviews
This book is the first to provide, in English translation, the full extent of Zola's writings on the Dreyfus affair, and features the complete text of "J'accuse", Zola's public letter to the French authorities, a century after its first publication in 1898. It also includes impassioned "open letters" to leading French newspapers, interviews with Zola at his home, intimate letters to his wife and friends written during his year long exile in England, and his final articles, written when Dreyfus was close to being pardoned. The documents represent, in their polemical entirety, a classic defense of human rights and a seating denunciation of fanaticism and prejudice.
"The book offers a fascinating juxtaposition of the grand public Zola, breathing fire and sweeping history before him, and the lonely, conflicted, doubt-ridden figure in exile". -- James R. Oestreich, New York Times
"Zola's many essays and open letters balance a seething fury at injustice with unrelenting, fiercely logical assaults on Dreyfus's accusers. Balancing these polemics are Zola's poignant, sadly domestic letters home during the year he spent exiled in England after his 1898 libel conviction. Levieux's readable translation lets Zola's forceful, somewhat bombastic tone shine through". -- Library Journal
"For students of this complex and reprehensible moment in French history, the Pages anthology presents the full panoply of Zola's writings about Dreyfus, and by doing so reminds us that "J'accuse" is only the best known of a series of open letters penned by the great novelist". -- Washington Post Book World
"The translations are highly readable and they give a dramatic insight into developments as eventsunfolded....Pages gives a comprehensive background account of Zola's involvement in the case". -- John A. Mizzi, Sunday Times
This work features the full text of "J'accuse", Emile Zola's public letter to the French authorities, denouncing the anti-Semitism provoked by the imprisonment of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish French army captain found guilty in 1894 of espionage. Other writings by Zola on this case are included.
In September 1894 the French authorities intercepted a letter which they claimed emanated from a Jewish army captain, Alfred Dreyfus, which they claimed to be proof of espionage on behalf of Germany. Dreyfus was subsequently court-martialed and imprisoned on Devil's Island, and the efforts of his family to have him released provoked an anti-Semitic controversy that split the French intellectual world down the center. Most famous among the participants was France's greatest living novelist, Emile Zola. This book is the first to provide, in English translation, the full extent of Zola's writings on the Dreyfus affair. It represents, in its polemical entirety, a classic defense of human rights and a searing denunciation of fanaticism and prejudice.
The book opens with the complete text of "J'Accuse," Zola's public letter to the French authorities. It also includes impassioned "open letters" to leading French newspapers, interviews with Zola at his home, intimate letters to his wife and friends written during his year-long exile in England (a direct result of three trials and a prison sentence for his part in the defense of Dreyfus), and his final articles, written when Dreyfus was close to being pardoned. Zola's texts constitute a unique and outstandingly eloquent primary source that is essential for a complete understanding of the Dreyfus affair. They shed brilliant new light on the official mind of France and were crucial in reversing public opinion, securing a retrial, and ensuring Dreyfus's rehabilitation. The significance of Zola's cause--and his scathing and passionate prose--resonate from his time to ours.