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About the Author

The career of Sébastien Faure did not turn out to be exactly as it had been planned. His parents longed to see him enter the Church and, as he was favored by special qualities of intelligence and ardour, become a standard-bearer for the Catholic Hierarchy. Therefore, they confided his intellectual upbringing to Jesuit teachers and schools which we said to have reached a very high, degree of efficiency in teaching the young and promising ones.

Guided by such tutoring, young Faure acquired a vast amount of knowledge and became one of the foremost orators in his land and time. But the faith did not last in heart as long as did the knowledge in his mind. The religion of God was soon superseded in his heart by a deep-rooted devotion to the welfare of mankind, and Faure became an atheist, uncompromising in his life-long battle against Religion and the Church.

Once he had repudiated all beliefs in the authority of God, Sébastien Faure — being a very logical person — repudiated also the right of man to impose his own authority upon man. For the last fifty years or thereabouts, Anarchism has had in France no more convinced, persistent and capable an exponent than Sébastien Faure. Äs a teacher, as a writer, as a lecturer, his whole life has been dedicated to the cause of liberty and human emancipation. To this day — past his eightieth birthday, undaunted either by persecution or age — he holds a foremost place in the line of those who battle for the spread of knowledge and the triumph of freedom in the world.

His work has been enormous: half a dozen of large books: “La Douleur Universelle”, “Propos Subversifs”, “Mon Communisme (Le Boniteur Universe!)”, “L’imposture Religieuse”, etc.; over a score of pamphlets — of which “Douze preuves de l’inexistence de Dieu”, herein translated, is one; countless articles on newspapers and magazines (often translated in many languages); and, last but not least, the “Encyclopedie Anarchiste” — a set of four large volumes of 3000 pages, wherein all the social, economic and cultural problems of Society are examined from the Anarchist standpoint — of which he was the editor and principal contributor.

To this should be added his lectures — thousands of them — each one of which is in itself a masterpiece. For Sébastien Faure is an orator in the classical Latin sense. Not a ranter but an artist of the spoken word, whose appearance on the rostrum is even now an intellectual event. No one can weigh the influence his word has had on the minds of two generations of Frenchmen.

Here is but a sketchy idea of the kind of man Faure is. In the following pages the reader will find a spark of the intellectual light that he has brought to mankind in his lifetime.