Abusing Power: Satirical Journals from the Special Collections Library


Jules Forain: “L’Affaire Dreyfus. Allégorie” (The Dreyfus Affair. An Allegory), Psst…!, July 1898
The Dreyfus affair, a political scandal with anti-Semitic overtones, divided France when the only Jew on the French general staff, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, was falsely accused of spying for Germany in 1894.  The most inflammatory periodical of the time was Psst… !, was a weekly journal created by nationalist artists Jules Forain and Caran d’Ache to rally opposition against Dreyfus. In Forain’s cartoon, a German officer places a mask of Emile Zola, the novelist and prominent defender of the captain, over the face of a smiling Jew.  Zola had come to Dreyfus’s defense with the publication in January 1898 of “J’Accuse,” his celebrated open letter to the French president. Convicted of libel, Zola fled to England in July.

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