Monday, May 31, 2010
The Center of a Bitter Debate
In the spring of 1973 I took a course at Penn State in European history (History 19), taught by Claire Hirshfield, Ph.D. I can remember that on one occasion Dr. Hirshfield talked about the cartoon above that caricatured the divisions in French society during the Dreyfus Affair.
The drawing depicts "a family supper," and is from the French newspaper Le Figaro of February 14, 1898. At the top, somebody says "above all, let us not discuss the Dreyfus Affair!" At the bottom, the whole family is fighting, and the caption says "they have discussed it."
The idea of being at the center of a mind-rending controversy is something that has always appealed to me, apparently.