In this book, which closely examines the techniques used by the polemists of the Dreyfus Affair, much is learned not only about the Mair itself, but also about the polemic of the age in which it was situated, and the interaction between writers and their public. The discourse within which people's thoughts were imprisoned is seen not merely to have reflected events, but to have created them, in an increasingly vicious circle whereby the language of popular abuse, incorporated into the written polemic of the Press, produced simple but distorted ideas which in turn were fed back into the people. The age's complete lack of concern for the libel laws led to particularly vivid examples of the art. We are shown how authors' shifts in vocabulary, and in stylistic techniques, unconsciously signal to us fundamental changes in their aims; and how, in the give-and-take of battle, words and concepts subtly changed their meaning, with certain abstract notions such as Truth and Justice becoming completely devalued.

part Part I|37 pages


chapter 1|14 pages

Polemic and the Affair

chapter 2|21 pages

Truth and Justice

part Part II|79 pages


chapter 3|12 pages

Plot Myths and Assertions of Certainty

chapter 4|27 pages

Formulae of Popular Polemic

chapter 5|16 pages

Techniques of Irony

chapter 7|16 pages

Attitudes to Personal Abuse

part Part III|52 pages

Three Individuals

chapter 8|21 pages


chapter 9|12 pages

Léon Bloy and the Clichés of the Affair

chapter 10|17 pages

Péguy’s Attacks on Jaurès

chapter |6 pages