DRUMONT, EDOUARD ADOLPHE:
French anti-Semitic author and former deputy from Algeria; born at Paris on May 3, 1844. Drumont's ancestry is not Jewish, as has been sometimes asserted. His ancestors came from Lille, where they were porcelain-painters. Drumont studied at the Lycée. When Drumont was but seventeen his father died, and left him to earn his own livelihood.He entered the Préfecture de la Seine, but soon left this for the profession of letters. At first he worked on the staff of several daily, weekly, and monthly periodicals. He was one of the chief collaborators on the "Liberté," "Gaulois," and "Petit Journal." During the seventies he published several volumes dealing with historical and theatrical themes.
In 1886 Drumont withdrew from the staff of the "Liberté" (owned by Péreire, a Jew), claiming that the newspapers were unduly controlled by the Jews. He then issued his famous work in two volumes, "La France Juive," a book which may be regarded as the beginning of the anti-Semitic movement in France. It gives an account of the Jews of that country, and analyzes the Jewish element of the French nation. The work, of course, is written from an intensely prejudiced point of view. It has passed through more than one hundred editions, arousing wide-spread interest, and was soon translated into several languages. Because of it, Drumont fought several duels, notably with Charles Laurent and Arthur Meyer. In addition, Drumont wrote the following books to explain his previous work: "La France Juive Devant l'Opinion" (1886), "La Fin d'un Monde" (1888), "Dernière Bataille," "Testament d'un Antisémite" (1889), etc.
Meantime the Panama affair, in which several Jewish financiers were prominently involved, gave to Drumont's agitation great popularity, and in September, 1892, he founded the "Libre Parole," a daily journal of rabid anti-Semitic tendencies. For his anti-Panama articles, Drumont was condemned to three months' imprisonment. In 1893 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the representation of Amiens; the following year he retired to Brussels. The Dreyfus affair helped him to regain popularity, and in 1898 he returned to France and was elected deputy for the first division of Algiers, but was defeated as a candidate for reelection in 1902.
- Dewamin, Collection Encyclopédique des Notabilités du XIXe, Siècle, i. 218 et seq., Paris, 1901;
- Curinier, Dictionnaire National des Contemporains, i. 93 et seq., Paris, n.d.;
- Nouveau Larousse Illustré, iii. 856;
- De Gubernatis, Dictionnaire International des Ecrivains du Jour, p. 860, Paris, n.d.