‘Paradoxes Are Always Dangerous Things’

J. Robert Maguire

in Ceremonies of Bravery

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199660827
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191748929 | DOI:
‘Paradoxes Are Always Dangerous Things’

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According to Joseph Reinach in his authoritative history of the Dreyfus affair, the influential ‘Lettre d’un Diplomate’, as it came to be known, published in the journal Le Siècle on 4 April 1898, was written in his home by two prominent Dreyfusards ‘based on notes provided by Zola’. As to the source of Zola’s notes, Reinach’s brother Salomon, in an anonymous report to the Cour de Cassation considering revision of Dreyfus’s court-martial, stated that ‘Zola got some of his information from Oscar Wilde, who had got it from Blacker, the intimate friend of Panizzardi. Wilde betrayed the confidence of his compatriot, but this did not lessen the great value of the information obtained.’ Absent a direct confrontation between Blacker and Wilde over the latter’s suspected perfidy, their estrangement proved gradual until their final meeting in early June. Faced with mounting attacks in the anti-Dreyfusard press, fuelled by information that Blacker became convinced could only have come from Wilde, Blacker left Paris with his family. In reply to an accusing letter from him, Wilde protested his innocence and demanded an apology in ‘a very strong letter’, which, as Blacker noted in his diary, ‘put an end to our friendship forever’.

Keywords: Ross; O’Sullivan; Healy; Strong; Zola; Esterhazy; Le Siècle; Reinach; Conybeare; Paton; Panizzardi; Sherard; Boisandré

Chapter.  7206 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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