Lot 148: Zola's Immortal Words on Dreyfus Affair: "La verite est en marche et rien ne l'arretera"
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
26 October 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: Zola’s Famous Quotation about the Dreyfus Affair: “La vérité est en marche et rien ne l’arrêtera”********** ZOLA, EMILE. (1840-1902). French novelist; author of the most famous newspaper article ever written, J’Accuse…! penned in defense of Alfred Dreyfus, the French-Jewish officer unjustly accused and convicted of treason in 1894. AQS. (“Emile Zola”). 1p. 12mo. N.p., N.d. In French with translation. ********** “The truth is on the march and nothing will stop it” ********** Published in L’Aurore on January 13, 1898, Zola’s historic article J’Accuse…! accused French President Félix Faure, the military and the judicial system of anti-Semitism regarding accusations of treason against the French army officer Alfred Dreyfus. The open letter, which made famous Zola’s phrase “La vérité est en marche et rien ne l’arrêtera” (The truth is on the march and nothing will stop it), was meant to precipitate the author’s arrest for libel in the hope that those who had conspired to convict Dreyfus would attack the author, and in so doing, re-focus the public’s attention on a case that had been by and large forgotten since the captain’s deportation to Devil’s Island in 1895. ********** One of France’s most celebrated novelists, Zola’s prosecution was a public sensation when his trial began on February 7, 1898. Found guilty on the 23rd, Zola was sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of 3,000 francs. Confident that he would win on appeal, he was, nevertheless, found guilty a second time on July 18, 1898, whereupon he fled to England and lived in exile for nearly a year. Upon learning that the Dreyfus case was to be re-opened, he returned to France and published a collection of his essays about the Dreyfus Affair, entitled La Vérité en Marche, in 1901. Though his enemies accused him of profiting by his involvement in the Dreyfus Affair, his association with the case not only was detrimental to his career but almost certainly led to his death under mysterious circumstances in 1902, when he died of asphyxiation from a backed-up chimney in his home. Sadly, Zola did not live to see the reversal of Dreyfus’ guilty verdict on July 12, 1906 – a triumph not only for Dreyfus and his supporters, but a posthumous one for Zola as well. The Affair, however, remained a contentious topic and the overt anti-Semitism that led to and was exacerbated by it lingered in France for many decades. In fact, it was not until 1995 that the French army finally, and officially, acknowledged Dreyfus’ innocence. ********** With some light matte burn around the edges. Matted and framed and not examined out of the frame. Rare. The only example of Zola’s memorable quotation we have ever seen offered for sale.