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PROUDHON, Pierre-Joseph.

Qu'est-ce que la propriété?

Ou recherches sur le principe du droit et du gouvernement. Premier mémoire.

Paris: Librairie de Prévot, 1841 Stock Code: 121060
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A "diabolical work which frightens even me"

Second edition of the French anarchist philosopher's notorious thesis which caused a scandal by equating all property with theft. In the wake of the social turmoil caused by the economic decline in France in 1839-40 and the July Monarchy's lapse into a "religion of property", Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865) argued thatunlike freedom and equalitythe right to property was not a natural right.

Yet he also opposed collective ownership, "as he was persuaded that only a society without government is able to establish social harmony. The First International was, indeed, destroyed in the great fight between those who supported a libertarian socialism of the kind Proudhon had advocated and those who followed the authoritarian pattern, devised by Karl Marx. Kropotkin and Herzen were all his confessed disciples. Even Tolstoy sought him and borrowed the title and much of the theoretical background of his masterpiece War and Peace from Proudhon's book, La guerre et la paix One can place Proudhon among the great socialist thinkers of the nineteenth century" (Simons, pp. 301-2). Proudhon himself referred to Qu'est-ce que la propriété? as a "diabolical work which frightens even me" (Correspondance I, p. 296), and he was called to defend himself against insurrection charges at his local court immediately after its publication. Qu'est-ce que la propriété? (1840) was followed in 1841 by his "Lettre à M. Blanqui sur la propriété. Deuxieme mémoire", and "Avertissement aux propriétaires, ou Lettre à M. Considérant sur une défense de la propriété" (often referred to as the "troisième mémoire").

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Duodecimo (182 x 112 mm). Original buff wrappers printed in black, edges uncut.


Later ownership stamp of "Alf. Mathey" to front wrappers.


Wrappers professionally restored, contents bright with occasional light foxing, still a very good copy.


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