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Divided France?: The Dreyfus Affair

Seminar Questions:

  • What were the causes of the Dreyfus Affair?

  • How widespread was anti-Semitism in France at the end of the nineteenth century?

  • What explains the role of intellectuals, such as Zola, in the Affair?

  • What were the links between the Dreyfus Affair and gender identities?

  • What were the political, social, and economic consequences of the Affair?

  • Does the Dreyfus Affair still matter today?

Core reading:

  • D Drake, French Intellectuals and Politics (2005), chapter 1 [ebook]

  • C Forth, ‘Adventure of the naked truth: The Dreyfus Affair and the female form,’ French Cultural Studies 12 (2001) [electronic]

  • N Fitch, ‘Mass parliamentary politics, and modern anti-Semitism: The Dreyfus Affair in rural France,’ American Historical Review 97:1 (1992), 55-95 [electronic]

  • R Harris, ‘How the Dreyfus Affair Explains Sarkozy’s Barqa Ban,’ 12 May 2010

  • Background: Popkin, History of Modern France, chps. 20.

Further reading:


primary source

  • G Whyte, The Dreyfus Affair: A Chronological History (2005) (ebook)


  • R Harris, The Man on Devil’s Island: Alfred Dreyfus and the Affair that Divided France (2010)
  • M Burns, Rural Society and French Politics: Boulangism and the Dreyfus Affair (1984)

  • R Gildea, Children of the Revolution (2008), chap 9

  • R Griffiths, The Use of Abuse: The Polemics of the Dreyfus Affair and its Aftermath (1991)

  • L Begley, Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters (2009)

  • R Kaplan, The fin-de-siècle Crisis of Democracy in France, chap 8

  • R Harris, ‘The Assumptionists and the Dreyfus Affair,’ Past and Present 194 (2007)

  • A Mitchell, The Xenophobia Style: French Counterespionage and the emergence of the Dreyfus Affair,’ Journal of Modern History 52:3 (1980) 414-25

  • E Cahm, The Dreyfus affair in French society and politics (1996)

  • DWJ Johnson, France and the Dreyfus affair (1966)

  • M Larkin, Church and state after the Dreyfus affair: the separation issue in France (1974)

  • Kleeblatt, The Dreyfus affair: art, truth, and justice (1987)

  • L. Derfler, The Dreyfus Affair (2002)

  • R Kedward, The Dreyfus Affair (1965)

  • M Burns, Dreyfus: A Family Affair, 1789-1945 (1992)


  • C Forth, The Dreyfus Affair and the Crisis of French Manhood (2004)

  • C Forth, ' Intellectuals, Crowds, and the Body Politics of the Dreyfus Affair,' Historical Reflections/Reflexions historiques 24 (1998), 63-91

  • C Forth. ''Bodies of Christ: Gender, Jewishness, and Religious Imagery in the Dreyfus Affair,' History Workshop Journal 48 (1999), 18-38

  • R Harris, ‘Letters to Lucie: Spirituality, Friendship and Politics during the Dreyfus Affair,’ French Historical Studies 28:4 (2005)

  • V Datta, ' From Devil's Island to the Pantheon? Alfred Dreyfus, the Anti-Hero,' in C Forth and E Accampo (eds), Confronting Modernity in Fin-de-Siecle France (2009)


  • D Drake, French Intellectuals and politics from the Dreyfus Affair to the Occupation (2005)

  • J Wright, ‘After the Affair: The Congrès de la Jeunesse and Intellectual Reconciliation in 1900,’ French History 23:4 (2009)

  • P Rutkoff, 'The Ligue des Partriotes: The Nature of the Radical Right and the Dreyfus Affair,' French Historical Studies 8:4 (1974), 585-603

  • J.J. Cerullo, 'Religion and the psychology of Dreyfusard Intellectualism,' Historical Reflections/Reflexions historiques 24 (1998), 93-114

  • V Detta, Birth of a National Icon: The Literary Avant-Garde and the Origins of the Intellectual in France, 1890-1905 (1999)

The Jewish community and anti-Semitism

  • MR Marrus, The politics of assimilation: a study of the French Jewish community at the time of the Dreyfus Affair (1971)

  • R Berkovitz, The Shaping of Jewish Identity in Nineteenth-Century France (1989)

  • Fertig, Antisemitism in Modern France: A Prologue to the Dreyfus Affair (1969)

  • R Byrnes, 'Anti-Semitism in France before the Dreyfus Affair,' Jewish Social Studies 11:1 (1949), 49-68

  • Hannah Ardendt, ‘From the Dreyfus Affair to France Today,’ Jewish Social Studies 4/3 (1942), 195-240

  • Aron Rodrigue, 'Rearticulations of French Jewish Identities after the Dreyfus Affair,' Jewish Social Studies 2/3 (1996), 1-24

  • N Green, The Pletzl of Paris: Jewish Immigrant Workers in the Belle Epoch (1986)

  • R Schechter, Obstinate Hebrews: representations of Jews in France, 1715-1815 (2003)

  • S Wilson, Ideology and experience: Anti-semitism in France at the time of the Dreyfus affair (1982)

  • P Albert, The modernization of French Jewry: consistory and community in the nineteenth century (1977)

  • P Birnbaum, ‘Grégoire, Dreyfus and the rue Copernic’ in P Nora (ed) Realms of Memory, Vol 1 Conflicts and Divisions (1996)

  • M Winock, Nationalism, Anti-Semitism, and Fascism in France (1998)

  • P. Birnbaum, The Jews of the Republic: A Political History of State Jews in France from Gambetta to Vichy (1992)

  • P Birnbaum, The Anti-Semitic Moment: A Tour of France in 1898 ( 2011)