The sad news of the death of Herbert Marcuse has reached us as we send this issue to press. The highly original and critical intelligence he brought to Marxism, and his unstinting solidarity with those in need of it, will be sorely missed. His life spanned the epoch from the revolutionary upheavals of 1918–19 to the rebirth of revolutionary socialism in the advanced capitalist countries in the 1960s. His own work made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to this revitalization of Marxism, and formed a creative link between the Marxism of the classics and that of our own day. In this connection special mention should be made of Marcuse’s remarkable essay of 1934 on the newly published Paris Manuscripts, his seminal ‘Study on Authority’, his lucid reconstruction of the Hegelian philosophy in ‘Reason and Revolution’, his penetrating critique of ‘Soviet Marxism’, his audacious synthesis of psycho-analysis and historical materialism in ‘Eros and Civilization’, and his many more recent reflections on aesthetics and politics. Finally—as those who publish this review can testify from their own experience—even the briefest salute to Herbert Marcuse would be incomplete that did not mention his great kindness, his modesty and generosity, and the good-humoured yet militant spirit with which he confronted both adversity and good fortune.
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NLR I/117, September–October 1979