REINACH, JOSEPH. (1856-1921). French historian, liberal politician and staunch defender of Alfred Dreyfus. Signed book. (“Joseph Reinach”). 462pp. 8vo. (Paris, 1898). A first edition of his book, Vers la justice par la verité: L’Affaire Dreyfus, published by P.-V. Stock, and inscribed by Reinach on the half-title “á ses pieds” (“at her feet”) to MADAME E. ROSTAND (French playwright and poet ROSEMONDE GÉRARD, 1871-1953). In French.
Emile Zola published his famous article J’Accuse…! in January 1898 to draw renewed attention to the plight of Alfred Dreyfus, the French army officer falsely accused of espionage and imprisoned for life on Devil’s Island. The truth finally emerged in the summer of 1898 after Lt. Col. Joseph Henry, implicated in the creation of forgeries used against Dreyfus, confessed and killed himself in a military prison, while the actual traitor and forger of the notorious bordereau, Major Marie-Charles-Ferdinand Walsin-Esterhazy, escaped to England. General Boisdeffre, the army’s Chief of the General Staff who had been convinced of Dreyfus’ guilt from the beginning, resigned after Henry’s confession. Considering these events, the court annulled the 1894 judgment against Dreyfus and, at the urging of Reinach, a very influential member of France’s Republican party, early supporter of Dreyfus and the most prominent Jew in parliament agreed to review the sentence at a second military trial in Rennes in 1899. Despite overwhelming evidence that pointed to a broad conspiracy to frame Dreyfus, the court, by a vote of five to two, found Dreyfus guilty a second time, yet tried to mitigate its verdict by offering the absurd explanation that he had committed treason “under extenuating circumstances.” Sentenced to ten years detention, French president Émile Loubet offered him a pardon, which, unlike other Dreyfus’ supporters, Reinach advised Dreyfus to accept. Initially opposed to accepting any pardon that would compel him to withdraw his petition for a legal revision and acknowledge responsibility for a crime he steadfastly maintained he never committed, Dreyfus finally acquiesced, providing he could continue to try to clear his name. Reinach later wrote a seven-volume history of the case, Histoire de l’Affaire Dreyfus, that is still considered by many to be the standard work on the subject. Our early, shorter and contemporaneous work about the Affair was published by Stock in 1898 and is one of 19 pro-Dreyfus works written by Reinach and published through by P.-V. Stock. (Bibliographie thématique et analytique de l’affaire Dreyfus, Cahiers naturalists, Lipschutz).
The book’s recipient, Louise-Rose-Étiennette Gérard, known as Rosemonde Gérard was a poet and playwright known for the beloved lines “Car, vois-tu, chaque jour je t’aime advantage / Aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain” (“For, you see, each day I love you more / Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow”) from her poem “L’éternelle chanson” or “Les Vieux” written to her husband Edmond Rostand, the famous playwright best known for Cyrano de Bergerac. Although her husband’s fame eclipsed her own, her decades-long career also included several plays and films.
In a contemporary cloth and paper board binding. Worn and browned, bearing the blind ownership stamp of Alain Brisset.