Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Dreyfus buff

Been reading a lot about Dreyfus once again. Nope, I just can't get enough. He was a good-looking guy, apparently. Not that it says so in any of the books I'm reading, but there are pictures, and from the pictures he looks not too shabby. And Jewish, too, I hear, so perfect prom-date material. In any case, I just read a couple things that are super-duper-relevant for my long-since-finished BA. One: The Dreyfus Affair was almost completely non-violent. This is significant because.... Because that explains why it often gets overlooked, and why, for a not-so-obscure thing to be interested in, naming it gets a whole lot of "huh"s from otherwise knowledgeable types. And also, I found an essay that says a bunch more about the French Jewish response to the Affair, and which might support or might contradict the arguments I made in the BA. I'll have to think about it.

In other news, crossing over from Alsace into Germany-by-way-of-the-Lower-East-Side, I travelled east for dinner with my parents at Loreley, a German restaurant (and beergarden!) on Rivington Street. I had the cheese spatzle with salad and a gigantic (for me, at least) beer. Photos may be forthcoming. The salad arrived first, and I assumed the spatzle would be under the salad. As I was poking around for it, the waiter arrived with a huge plate of spatzles and caught me wondering if there were spatzles underneath the cucumbers. I'd just assumed a hip LES restaurant would have tiny portions. The waiter had a good laugh.

8 comments:

Petey said...

"He was a good-looking guy, apparently. ... And Jewish, too, I hear, so perfect prom-date material."

Bringing a dead date to the prom is a bit too Romeo & Juliet for my tastes.

v said...

I thought it is rumoured that Emile Zola died under mysterious circumstances (murdered ?) due to his support for Dreyfus. This would make it somewhat less non-violent.

Phoebe said...

Even if Zola was murdered, and even knowing that Dreyfus, as well as other French Jews, were physically assaulted from time to time, the Dreyfus Affair was nothing violence-wise compared to, say, WWI. The Affair may have had a bigger impact on history, or at the very least on Jewish history, totally disproportionately to the amount of violence it involved.

Petey said...

"the Dreyfus Affair was nothing violence-wise compared to, say, WWI."

Hiroshima was nothing violence-wise compared to WWI.

Phoebe said...

And the Affair was, of course, nothing compared to Hiroshima. I chose WWI because that's the event most people think of when they think early 1900s France.

Anonymous said...

If nothing else most educated people are familiar with the j'accuse article.

mel bennelli said...

Hello, phoebe. The Dreyfus Affair is a fascinating one. It may not have been as violent as WWI, like you say. Still, many antidreyfusards were later among the most rabid of the pro-war camp in 1914. I'm thinking mainly of peeps like Maurice Barrès, Charles Maurras, and Léon Daudet, all members of the extreme right. During the interwar years, they would be influential in passing on to a later generation the seedbed of a French brand of fascism. True, since the Italians and Germans proved much nastier, history tends to forget them. But, if we understand them, then it makes the whole Vichy regime of WWII much more understandable. Still....

Poor Dreyfus, he was up against some decidedly unfun, racist people. Curously enough, Theodor Herzl, a Jewish journalist from Vienna, was so digusted by what he was covering in France, he started the Zionist movement.

Just thought I'd post that. "What Would Phoebe Do?" has been on our blogroll at bennellibrothers.com for sometime, and I had never visited your site. And let me just say: that it was super refreshing to read about something other than the political buzz of the instant, Rove, etc., etc.

Have fun, and keep on keeping the blogosphere safe for diverse topics!

arnlieb said...

The Dreyfus affair percolates through Proust's Remembrance --it permeated French society and divided friends and families.