A Million Words: Day 115

As expected, this has been a slightly more distracted month. I managed to get sick for a week, and had to burn a couple of my allocated “sick/vacation days,” and then made up most of the lost time with a couple of unusually easy bits of translation. I’m nearing the halfway mark in the main text of Fribourg’s history of the International, and have probably a third of the supplementary documents and endnotes completed. I’m also making pretty good headway through Jenny P. d’Héricourt’s Woman Affranchised. I finished a draft translation of all the material for the collection of Fourier’s writings on gastronomy and gastrosophy, but will need to do quite a bit more work to properly annotate it.

On the Proudhon front, I completed a translation of his 1837 application for the Suard Pension, and have a long section from The Creation of Order in Humanity, on the criterion of certainty, that is about an hour of correction and revision away from being posted. And I have just started to transfer some of my keyword files to the Proudhon Library wiki (and will post more about this project when I’m a bit farther along with it.)

I’ve had a delay on the Bakunin Reader, which may or may not actually delay the book a few months, but have been continuing to post translations to the Bakunin Library site, and recent additions include some interesting material on cooperation, strike funds and solidarity, the conflict with Marx, etc. I’ve got some fairly venomous material aimed at the Parisian workers of the “Sixty,” but will probably hold onto that until I have time to give it the historical context it deserves. This delightful bit showed up in a very short, undated fragment:

There is one other point that profoundly separates me from our pan-Slavists. They are still partisans of unity, always preferring discipline, the yoke of authority, majestic and monotonous uniformity and public order, to liberty. Me, I am an anarchist; I am a partisan of the life from below against all laws imposed in an authoritarian and doctrinaire manner from on high and I always and everywhere prefer liberty to order…”

The best real surprise of the last couple of weeks has been Claude Pelletier’s 1867 work, The Revolutionary Socialist Heretics of the 15th Century, a five-act play that transplanted the concerns of the French revolution of 1848, and the thought of figures like Proudhon and Pierre Leroux into the context of the Hussite rebellion in Bohemia. I’ve posted the preface, and will post the play as soon as it is finished. Much of it is really quite interesting, and it is certainly interesting to find that Pelletier was combining influences from Leroux and Proudhon in his form of mutualism.

I’m starting the day with a little over 312,000 words translated since Thanksgiving, which is probably getting close to the amount that I’ve translated in the rest of my relatively brief career, and the pace is feeling relatively natural now. That said, the sense that there is always far, far too much still to be tackled doesn’t go away. What I’m finding is that I’m still most often researching first and translating as a part of that research process, in order to better share and support what I’m finding—much as, in other phases of my work, archiving has been largely a means of citing otherwise inaccessible sources. What I have not been able to incorporate into my schedule as much as I had hoped is the translation of more works just “for the fun of it,” and I may make some effort, once this period of racing to meet deadlines is over, to build in a regular slot for some of the various bits of weird science and imaginary voyage narratives that I have started on at various times.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.