Rimoch, David

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  • Publication
    The Affair or the State: Intellectuals, the Press, and the Dreyfus Affair
    (2008-04-01) Rimoch, David
    In his introduction to The Age of Revolution historian Eric Hobsbawm considers "a few English words which were invented, or gained their modern meanings, substantially in the period" between 1789 and 1848. The list includes 'capitalism', 'socialism', 'aristocracy', 'liberal', 'conservative', 'nationality', 'crisis', 'journalism', and 'ideology'. For Hobsbawm, "To imagine the modern world without these words (i.e. without the things and concepts for which they provide names) is to measure the profundity of the revolution which broke out between 1789 and 1848, and forms the greatest transformation in human history since the remote times when men invented agriculture and metallurgy, writing, the city and the state." This analysis is relevant when thinking of the Dreyfus case. To imagine the Affair without words such as 'capitalism', 'aristocracy', 'nationality', 'crisis', or 'ideology', is not hard, it is impossible.