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New Left Review I/48, March-April 1968


Martin Nicolaus

The Unknown Marx

When he assessed his intellectual career in 1859, Karl Marx condemned to deserved obscurity all of his previous works but four. The Poverty of Philosophy (1847) first set forth the decisive points of his scientific views, although in polemical form, he wrote; and he implied that the same description applied to the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), a Speech on Free Trade of the same year, and an unfinished series of newspaper articles entitled Wage-Labour and Capital, published in 1849. He made no mention of the Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts (1844), The Holy Family and the Theses on Feuerbach (1845), and he referred to the manuscript of The German Ideology (1846) without naming its title as a work which he and Engels gladly abandoned to the mice. [1] cf. the preface of the Critique of Political Economy. With one exception, I have used the works edition of Marx’s and Engel’s writings, published by Dietz, Berlin, from 1962 to 1967; but I have quoted the English titles and supplied my own translations. The preface appears in Works Vol.13, pp.7-11(w13:7-11). An English translation can be found in Marx-Engels selected works, vol.I, pp.361-365.Three years before his death, when he received inquiries regarding the eventual publication of his complete works, he is reported to have answered dryly, ‘They would first have to be written.’ [2] Quoted in Maximilien Rubel: Karl Marx, Essai de Biographie Intellectuelle, Marcel Rivière, Paris 1957, p.10.

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