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Book Description

Pierre-Joseph PROUDHON. 1809-1865. Writer and political theorist. ALS to his friend Alexandre MASSOL. Brussels, December 9, 1858. 3 pages in French in-8 on fine paper, address (small hole by breakage of seal without affecting the text). Long and fascinating letter, with misogynistic overtones, in reaction to the publication of the first work published by the writer and proto feminist, Juliette La Messine [who would later become Juliette Adam upon remarriage in 1867], Antiproudhonian Ideas on Love, Women and Marriage. This pamphlet which advocates autonomy and equality of the sexes here attracts the criticism of Proudhon, who denies women writers the sense of logic and reasoning. I want to ask a small favour of you. You know who Mme Juliette Lamessine is or rather the author of this work which carries her name...he suspects a collaborator and wants to know who is the real author of the book. Proudhon attacks Jules MICHELET who allegedly stole his ideas. ... I would be happy to say that this is the last word of the School of Ménilmontant, or if you like better, of its leader. At the same time, I read Michelet's book, L'Amour, who, without naming me once, appropriated many of my thoughts and expressions, and even wrote his book [under the influence of] mine. : at least, that's what he told me himself in the letter that accompanied the volume. All this made my heart glad, and I congratulated myself.. if not for the progress of my propaganda, at least for my successes as an intellectual agitator. So the question is asked about Love, Woman and Marriage: and for it to be clearly posed, I had to get involved. We will soon see who is right: the Enfantin free-eroticist, the middle-ground Michelet, or me. Between the feminine anger expressed in the first part of the pamphlet and the dogmatic tone of the second part, Proudhon only detects a 'school doctrine', long adopted, and in which there is no original but a few sentences borrowed or imitated from my 3rd volume. I suspect your friend M. [ Elisa] Lemonnier [promoter of womens' education] of being the author of this second part. I will not return Madame Juliette blow for blow, God forbid .. I do not know how to raise a hand to a lady. If she seems a little crazy to me, she is very nice, this Juliette; she made me laugh heartily; there were times when I wanted to kiss her. What ... jokes! ...How well she deploys her weapons! How brave she is! ... I forgive her, in favor of the spirit she shows in her mischief, for having crippled me, disguised me, and not understood at all. But why is she going to trouble a with pretty little head like hers all those terms of philosophy which she affects to use with the same ease as she would with her needle? So does Madame d'Héricourt [feminist] so does D. Stern [pseudonym of the novelist, Marie d'Agoult], and the others.... Words are nothing, it is logic that is everything: and really, neither Mrs. Juliette, nor her prompter or assistant, knows the first word. She is yet another example to show that a woman just goes crazy when she reasons.... Proudhon demands from his friend and correspondent in the name friendship to know who is the real author of this work. He writes that he sees the hand of Enfantin [Prosper] ENFANTIN] and a collaborator in M. Lemonnier. Finally, he demands that the authors have the courage to name themselves publicly, despite the police. Society is in revolution; and he does not accept that revolutionary ideas should be subject to a kind of game of hide and seek ...signing off P-J Proudhon. An excellent letter, amply demonstrating Proudhon's extreme sensitivity to being plagiarised as well as a lack of belief, sadly not uncommon on the political Left, in the intellectual abilities of women. Good condition, hole in the paper where opened not affecting text at all.
Author Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, The 'Father of Anarchism'
Date 1858
Binding no binding
Publisher manuscript
Illustrator n/a
Condition Very good
Pages 3

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