In September 1894 the French authorities intercepted a letter which they claimed emanated from a Jewish army captain, Alfred Dreyfus, and appeared 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 worlds down the centre. Most famous among the participants was France's greatest living novelist, Emile Zola. This book provides, in English translation, the full extent of Zola's writings on the Dreyfus affair. It represents, in its polemical entirety, a defence of human rights and a denunciation of fanaticism and prejudice. The book features the complete text of "J'Accuse", Zola's public letter to the French authorities. It also includes "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 defence of Dreyfus), and his final articles, written when Dreyfus was close to being pardoned. Zola's texts constitute a primary source that is essential for a complete understanding of the Dreyfus affair. They shed light on the official mind of France and were crucial in reversing public opinion, securing a retrial, and ensuring Dreyfus's rehabilitation.
Literature-Fiction, Essays-Correspondence, Essays,