Karl Marx: Thoroughly Revised Fifth Edition

Karl Marx: Thoroughly Revised Fifth Edition

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 0691156506

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Isaiah Berlin's intellectual biography of Karl Marx has long been recognized as one of the best concise accounts of the life and thought of the man who had, in Berlin's words, a more "direct, deliberate, and powerful" influence on mankind than any other nineteenth-century thinker. A brilliantly lucid work of synthesis and exposition, the book introduces Marx's ideas and sets them in their context, explains why they were revolutionary in political and intellectual terms, and paints a memorable portrait of Marx's dramatic life and outsized personality. Berlin takes readers through Marx's years of adolescent rebellion and post-university communist agitation, the personal high point of the 1848 revolutions, and his later years of exile, political frustration, and intellectual effort. Critical yet sympathetic, Berlin's account illuminates a life without reproducing a legend.

New features of this thoroughly revised edition include references for Berlin's quotations and allusions, Terrell Carver's assessment of the distinctiveness of Berlin's book, and a revised guide to further reading.

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and German included a very significant amount of correspondence and some further memoir material, but more importantly it included the publication of the ‘early Marx’ in the form of ‘economic and philosophical manuscripts’. Excerpts from these materials had been circulating in the West since the 1940s, when the German socialist archives (sent to Amsterdam during the Nazi rise to power) became available to scholars. Eventually the mountain of Marx manuscripts in print has come to include juvenilia

Spirit, now threw themselves avidly on the new combinations. Each busily began to dispose of his share of it. Plainly this could not be done without competition. At first it possessed a solidly commercial, respectable character; but later, when the German market became glutted, and the world market, in spite of all efforts, proved incapable of assimilating further goods, the whole business – as usual in Germany – was spoilt by mass production, lowering of quality, adulteration of raw material,

preservation of the existing order is or is not essential. Once this is known, men’s particular personal motives and emotions become comparatively irrelevant to the investigation: they may be egoistic or altruistic, generous or mean, clever or stupid, ambitious or modest. Their natural qualities will be harnessed by their circumstances to operate in a given direction, whatever their natural tendency. Indeed, it is misleading to speak of a ‘natural tendency’ or an unalterable ‘human nature’.

In the Preface to Capital the succession of economic forms is described as ‘a process of natural history’.1 In 1873 Marx, in the epilogue to the second edition of Capital, quotes a passage from the Russian reviewer of the original edition, who said: ‘Marx regards social movement as a process of natural history governed by laws that are not only independent of men’s will, consciousness and intentions, but, on the contrary, determine their will, consciousness and intentions.’2 Marx declares that

upon himself in paroxysms of hatred and of rage. His bitter feeling often found outlet in his writings and in long and savage personal vendettas. He saw plots, persecution and conspiracies everywhere; the more his victims protested their innocence, the more convinced he became of their duplicity and their guilt. His mode of living consisted of daily visits to the British Museum reading room, where he normally remained from nine in the morning until it closed at seven; this was followed by long

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