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MARX, Karl.

[Das Kapital, in Russian:] Kapital. Kritika politicheskoi ekonomii.

St Petersburg, [Ministry of Communications (A. Benke); III, V. Demakov,] 1872 & 1885 & 1896 Stock Code: 127174

The first foreign translation of Capital, extremely rare complete in three volumes

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First edition in Russian of all three volumes of Das Kapital, extremely rarely found complete. This was the first foreign translation of "the Bible of Marxism". Though the censors viewed its appearance complacently - "few people in Russia will read it, and fewer still will understand it" - the first volume, issued in 3,000 copies, was quite successful and the edition rapidly sold out, with the first 900 copies sold in under two months. Marx thought the translation "masterly" and, in 1880, wrote to his friend Friedrich Sorge, his chief co-worker in America, that "our success is still greater in Russia, where Das Kapital is read and appreciated more than anywhere else."
Marx had been closely involved in the process of creating an edition for Russian readers, and corresponded often with the translators German Aleksandrovich Lopatin and Nikolai Frantsevich Danielson. Volume I went to the press in October 1871, Marx returned his proof corrections smartly at the start of November, and the book was finally published on 27 March 1872. After Marx's death in 1883, when Engels was preparing the other volumes for publication in German (they appeared in 1885 and 1894 respectively), he sent advanced proofs of volume II to Danielson in February 1885 to help speed the translation and later, in 1894, again sent proofs to Russia for translation. Unfortunately Engels did not see the work completed; he died in 1895, the year before the final volume appeared in St Petersburg. The printing of a second edition was forbidden in Russia and so in 1890 a New York publisher brought out an nearly identical reprint of the first edition: that second edition is distinguished from the first in that the misplaced comma opposite "p. 73" in the table of contents is replaced by a full stop; and the "e" at the end of l. 40, p. 65, is replaced by a "c".
OCLC records the following four institutions as having copies of both volumes two and three: the International Institute of Social History in the Netherlands; BCU Dorigny in Switzerland; Bibliothek der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Germany; and the National Library of Poland. It locates a further single copy of volume three at the Universitatsbibliothek Osnabruck, and complete sets of all three volumes at the National Diet Library in Japan and the British Library.

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3 volumes, large octavo. Vol. 1 (240 x 157 mm), contemporary half roan, dark brown paper-covered boards, rebacked, spine unlettered, new endpapers, edges sprinkled. Vols. 2 (241 x 160 mm) and 3 (240 x 150 mm), both contemporary quarter roan and marbled paper-covered boards, spines lettered in blind.


Overall a very good set in contemporary bindings. Vol. 1: spine and extremities skilfully restored, dampstain to top corner of book block, some neat paper restoration using Japanese tissue to inner margin of pp. 93-94, contents faintly spotted and soiled. Vols. 2 and 3 worn at extremities, else the contents clean and fresh, with occasional light foxing. Vol. 2: with the imprint to the title leaf verso noted by Sraffa as appearing in some but not all copies. Sigs. 1 and 24.8 strengthened at gutter with paper strips, a few tiny chips to fore edges of gathering 3, a short tear at bottom edge of rear free endpaper, rear hinge cracked and held by two cords. Vol. 3: without the final blank. Front hinge cracked but firm, Russian library stamps to front and rear pastedowns, and to pp. 159, 449, and 734, minor dampstain to bottom edge of last few gatherings.


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