Our shops are open and we are processing online, telephone and email orders as normal

PROUDHON, Pierre-Joseph.

Qu'est-ce que la propriété?

Ou recherches sur le principe du droit et du gouvernement. Premier mémoire; [bound with:] Lettre à M. Blanqui sur la propriété. Professeur d'économie politique au conservatoire des arts et métiers. Deuxième mémoire; [and:] Avertissement aux Propriétaires, ou lettre à M. Considérant Rédacteur de la Phalange, sur une défense de la propriété.

Paris: Librairie de Prévot, 1841 Stock Code: 129328
Reserve Ask us a question

"All property is theft"

Second edition of the French anarchist philosopher's notorious thesis, together with the first editions of his two succeeding works, the "deuxième" and "troisième" memoirs. Qu'est-ce que la propriété? was first published in 1840, and shocked its readership with its famous assertion that "all property is theft", which remains widely cited among radical circles to this day. 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.

The distinguished economist Blanqui (1805-1881) was appointed by the Minister of Justice to read Proudhon's inflammatory treatise, and his review of it was partially reproduced by Le Moniteur on 7 September. Although he opposed the views that Proudhon adopted, Blanqui's judgement was ultimately favourable because he believed Proudhon to be a philosopher and inquirer rather than a serious revolutionary. Blanqui's verdict helped to lessen the insurrection charges brought against Proudhon and it was only because of his support that Proudhon was permitted to keep his stipend. The second work in this volume is Proudhon's grateful response to Blanqui's review, where he reacts to some of the reviewer's objections, and offers some moderate revisions to his first work.

In the third work, written in response to Victor Considérant's "Défense du Fourierisme", Proudhon warns property owners that the workers' revolution would soon come. Proudhon's pronouncement led to his home and printing office being raided and many copies of the book were seized. All three of the works are scarce both institutionally and in commerce, and it is highly unusual to find all three bound together.

Confused? Read our glossary


3 works in 1 volume, duodecimo (176 x 109 mm). Contemporary half calf, rebacked, red morocco label, erroneous date of 1641 at base of spine, marbled sides and endpapers.


Half-titles present. Tips repaired with green calf, a few minor interior blemishes but contents generally clean, very light damp stain to last few leaves, some pages short and opened a little crudely. A very good copy.


With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200.

View Full Delivery Details



Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

Email: mail@peterharrington.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 0220

ABA Antiquarian Bookseller Association ILAB International League of Antiquarian Booksellers LAPADA The Association of Art and Anatique Dealers PBFA Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association

Our Guarantee Page

Ask us a question


Contact us with details of the book you are interested in or selling and we will contact you

Sell Old Books Help me find a book