Tuesday, March 01, 2011

They don't write 'em like that anymore

A couple of finds:
  • An early translation (Charles A. Dana, in the Harbinger) of "An Unpublished Fragment of Fourier," describing "the Antienne, or first repast." Turns out that breakfast in harmony is quite an affair.
  • An unfinished, probably incomplete, unused French preface for an edition of Proudhon's War and Peace that was ultimately abandoned, by Georges Sorel, who was alternately one of the best and one of he worst readers of Proudhon I can think of.


Roderick T. Long said...

Re Fourier, do you happen to know whether this piece might have influenced S. P. Andrews' dinner-party analogy? (Andrews' version does sound a bit less structured.)

Re Sorel, what are (some of) his virtues and vices as Proudhon interpreter?

Shawn P. Wilbur said...

There's no question that some of Fourier's descriptions of life "in the combined order" influenced SPA's dinner party analogy. The differences seem to be matters of personal style. Fourier poured a lot of energy into descriptions of the various forms the interplay of the passions might take, while Andrews was deeply invested in investigating the laws by which such things unfold. It's probably a question of how and where they thought the structures manifest themselves.

Sorel was a lot more interested in Proudhon's later work than most anarchists have been, and correctly identified the importance of "War and Peace" in Proudhon's development. But nuance in his own expression was perhaps not Sorel's strong point, despite his apparent appreciation for it in others, so he managed to be a pretty good reader of folks like Proudhon and Bergson, while still facilitating the appropriation of their ideas by futurists, fascists, etc. So we find someone like Marinetti sounding a lot like Proudhon, while Proudhon, in context, seldom really sounds much like Marinetti.

Or, at least, that's how I understand things at the moment. It's a question I really want to return to as time allows.

Roderick T. Long said...