Dividing “Pologne”

It appears that even when writing about Poland, Proudhon ultimately tended toward division. While much of the work of the last few years of his life seems to have been connected to the work on Poland, of which The Theory of Property was an important element, when we look at the notes he left to his literary executors, we see that the manuscript of Pologne, as it has been passed down to us, was ultimately destined to be split into two works: The History of Poland and Political Geography and Nationality. Based on a table of contents included in the manuscript, it appears that the latter title probably corresponds to six chapters from Pologne, and that it is by following these six chapters that The Theory of Property would have been labeled Chapter VII, had that work not been pulled out for separate publication.

Because Political Geography and Nationality was never assembled for the Collected Works, we don’t have the expertise of Proudhon’s friends to guide us, but it appears that the six chapters are either relatively finished or at least fairly clearly outlined. There is other material in some of the other manuscripts that relates to the questions of political geography and nationality, but it will take some time to determine their relation to the material from the Pologne manuscript. Of more immediate interest for me, of course, is the relation of the six chapters to The Theory of Property, so my plan is to set aside much of the miscellaneous Proudhon translation that I have been working on and attempt to transcribe and then translate Political Geography and Nationality as a companion volume to The Theory of Property. Examination of the manuscripts suggests that the Plan for a Perpetual Exhibition was not specifically connected to that work in Proudhon’s mind, and so I’ll be moving that to the back burner for the time being, while I concentrate on the manuscript writings and continue to putter away at The Political Capacity of the Working Classes, which is directly concerned with the mutualist-guarantist-federalist project.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2301 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.