Proudhon Library

P.-J. Proudhon, Three Prefaces for “The Celebration of Sunday”

Proudhon’s first major work, The Celebration of Sunday, was subject to quite a number of revisions between the first edition in 1839 and what appears to be the fourth edition in 1850. The Preface and notes seem to have been particularly subject to change. As I have been revising my translation of the text from the 19th-century Œuvres Complètes, I wanted to determine the extent of the changes and turned to the notes published in the 20th-century Rivière edition, including the “Appendix” that I recently translated, which includes some material from a manuscript, perhaps now no longer accessible, that did not appear in any of the editions. That material revealed that at the time of the Rivière edition it was believed that Proudhon’s original 1839 edition was lost, one of the factors prompted the scholarly exchange around the manuscripts. Having access, at present to the 1838 volume, but not the manuscript, I can’t say any more about the sections addressed to the Academy, but I can say that the story of the revisions was a bit more complicated and different in its details than was suggested in that 20th-century exchange. As part of the work of clarifying the details, in preparation for a new Corvus Editions New Proudhon Library release, I’ve translated the first three versions of the Preface. […]