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bookkeepers in delirium!

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Gustave Flaubert to Madame Roger des Genettes, summer 1864:

In a little while I’ll be able to teach a course on socialism; at least I know all about its spirit and its meaning. I have just been swallowing Lamennais, Saint-Simon, and Fourier, and I am rereading Proudhon from beginning to end…. There is one fundamental thing they all have in common: the hatred of liberty, the hatred of the French Revolution and of philosophy. All those fellows belong to the Middle Ages; their minds are stuck in the past. And what pedants! What schoolmasters! Seminarians on a spree, bookkeepers in delirium!

Am reading right now, or trying to with limited resources, what Flaubert was reading. His an odd but interesting reaction to the line of thought in question. I’d put things differently, were I to write a paragraph about socialist work today, but not all that differently…

More to come… Have added 500 words per day on this to the 2000 words per day on that. Oh and by the way, for an interesting shiver, compare the image above of Fourier’s Phalanstère to an aerial view of the place where I am sitting right this minute. Would help if you could invert one or the other….

Written by adswithoutproducts

July 7, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Posted in flaubert, socialism

One Response

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  1. He also read a lot of Renan around that time, and I’d say their politics are remarkably similar: liberal anti-democrats with very firm ideas about why socialism was bats, but who were nonetheless very idiosyncratic and retrospectively difficult to label. Flaubert was more entertaining, but he wasn’t alone. The Second Empire is just such a foreign place, you can see why WB was attracted.

    RobDP

    July 12, 2010 at 9:28 pm


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