Victor d'Hupay

Joseph Alexandre Victor d'Hupay (1746–1818) was a French writer and philosopher. He is known for being among the first writers to use the term communism in its modern sense. He wished to transform the ideals of the Enlightenment philosophers into practice.[1]

Victor d'Hupay
Portrait de Victor d'Hupay (cropped).png
Portrait of Victor d'Hupay (ca.1790)
Died1818 (Aged 72)

Life and worksEdit

In 1746 Victor d'Hupay was born into an aristocratic family in the village of La Tour-d'Aigues in the Luberon, Provence.

d'Hupay began writing his first texts on the rural economy when he was seventeen. He believed agriculture to be the basis of wealth, and followed the Physiocrat movement that advocated an economy based upon it just as Marquis de Mirabeau did.

He followed the example of Baron de La Tour-d'Aigues, who was interested in land development and had one of the largest libraries of the time on this subject. d'Hupay challenged the display of wealth of Bruny, and other barons, because he, as a follower of Rousseau, wanted a simpler more rural life away from the tumult of cities. He read Enlightenment philosophers, and wished to put their ideas into action.

In 1770, he bought the bastide of Puget in Fuveau and became nobleman. During his life, Victor d'Hupay divided his time between La Tour-d'Aigues, Aix-en-Provence and the neighbouring village of Fuveau, to the south of Montagne Sainte-Victoire. The restored family bastide in Fuveau was run according to his principles. Once his country house in Fuveau was restored, he published his first book, Projet de communauté philosophe, which advocated the idea of living in a sort of commune. In the book, he told how he wanted to gather in his new home a circle of friends for a life in community.

In 1785, he defined himself as a communist author - a word that has existed since the twelfth century to designate certain forms of pooling of goods - in the sense of a supporter of the community of goods. Around this time, just before the French revolution, he was referred to as a communist in a book review by Restif de la Bretonne; according to some sources, this was the first time that the word "communism" was used in print in its modern sense.

During the Revolution, Victor d'Hupay became enthusiastic about new ideas. He corresponded with Mirabeau and Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. He presented several projects of national education and models of government to the National Assembly, and militated for the suppression of marriage, which he saw as a form property owning. Despite his commitment to the revolution, he was imprisoned under the Terror and his house was looted. He wrote a little under the Empire and died at Fuveau in 1818, at the age of seventy-two.


  • Grandjonc, Jacques (1983), "Quelques dates à propos des termes communiste et communisme", Mots, 7 (1): 143–148, doi:10.3406/mots.1983.1122

External linksEdit