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Marx, Karl (1818-1883)

The following sources are recommended by a professor whose research specialty is Karl Marx.


Six Superlative Sources

· Marx, Karl. Capital, volume 1, introduced by Ernest Mandel and translated by Ben Fowkes (Penguin, 1977). Beginners should read this for the vivid language and descriptions more than for the argument. Best parts: chapters 32, 15, 10, chapter 1 section 4, and Marx's and Engels's prefaces.

· Marx, Karl. Later Political Writings, edited and translated by Terrell Carver (Cambridge University Press, 1996). Best parts: Manifesto of the Communist Party, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte; "Preface" to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.

· Marx, Karl. The Marx-Engels Reader, 2d ed., edited by Robert C. Tucker (Norton, 1978), Best parts: "Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844," especially the section entitled "Estranged Labor"; "Theses on Feuerbach," and "The German Ideology," part 1.

· Avineri, Shlomo. The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx (Cambridge University Press, 1968). This is still the best general study of Marx's ideas.

· Seigel, Jerrold. Marx's Fate: The Shape of a Life (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993 [1978]). A detailed and very scholarly biography that looks at Marx's ideas as well as at his life. Probably the best biography, but rather difficult.

· Leszek Kolakowski. Main Currents of Marxism, translated from the Polish by P. S. Falla (3 vols.; Oxford University Press, 1978). Vols. 2 and 3 give an acidic, devastating account of twentieth-century Marxism.

Other Excellent Sources

· Francis Wheen. Karl Marx (London: Fourth Estate, 1999). A readable, funny, and surprisingly moving account of Marx the scholar, political activist, bon vivant, revolutionary, and family man.

· The Marx-Engels Internet Archive: Includes electronic versions, in English, of a growing selection of Marx's and Engels's writings.

· Draper, Hal. The Marx-Engels Cyclopedia (3 vols.; Schocken, 1985). Out of print, but indispensable for serious research on Marx. The volumes include: a day-to-day chronology of Marx's and Engels's lives; a complete list of their works; and a glossary identifying persons, places, and things that they came into contact with.

· Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. Collected Works. 50 vols. International Publishers, 1975-2001[?]. The standard English-language edition of Marx's and Engels's writings. This edition contains their published writings and their extensive correspondence, as well as many of their unpublished manuscripts.

· Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. Karl Marx Friedrich Engels Gesamtausgabe (MEGA2) (eventually 114 vols.; Dietz, 1972- ). Known as the "New" MEGA or as MEGA2 . This is the great scholarly edition of Marx's and Engels's writings, renowned for its rigor and honesty. It is being worked on by an international team of scholars. Begun in East Germany in the late 1960s, it is now being published under the auspices of the International Marx-Engels Foundation, based in Amsterdam.

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