Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Jenny d'Hericourt contra Proudhon

Proudhon's anti-feminism is one of those issues that is generally brought up without much understanding of his actual positions. Most of his writings on women and marriage remain untranslated. We are fortunate, however, to have an extensive reply to his works, from the pen of Jenny P. d'Hericourt (1809-1875), much of which takes the form of a "dialogue" with Proudhon and includes extensive selections from his work. That work, A Woman's Philosophy of Woman; or Woman Affranchised. an Answer to Michelet, Proudhon, Girardin, Legouve, Comte, and Other Modern Innovators (1864), first published in 1860 as La Femme affranchie, not only gives us considerable light into Proudhon's thought, but also introduces us to a remarkable 19th century French feminist. For those who can access JSTOR articles, Karen Queen's essay "A Nineteenth-Century French Feminist Rediscovered: Jenny P. D'Héricourt, 1809-1875" is worth a look, particularly as it contains a biographical (or perhaps autobiographical) account of d'Hericourt's life and speculates about her involvement in the Revolution of 1848. (It appeared in Signs, Vol. 13, No. 1, (Autumn, 1987), pp. 144-158.)

I have posted a pdf edition of the section on Proudhon, complete with original page numbers, in the Labyrinth.

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