MARX, Karl.

Il Capitale di Carlo Marx brevemente compendiato da Carlo Cafiero.

Libro Primo. Sviluppo della Produzione Capitalista.

Milan: C. Bignami e C, 1879 Stock Code: 128758
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First edition, extremely scarce, of Cafiero's abridgment of Marx's Das Kapital, the first appearance of the work in Italian. This was one of the earliest abridgements of Das Kapital, and was much admired by Marx.

Carlo Cafiero (1846-1892), an Italian socialist, met Marx and Engels in London in 1870 and was recruited to their cause. He returned to Italy, accepting their offer to become the special agent in Italy of the International's General Council, working especially in Naples where the Bakunists and Mazzinians held sway over the left. Engels tried to warn Cafiero about the dangerousness of Bakunin's ideas, but by 1872 Cafiero had fallen in with Bakunin and was joining the anarchists. Imprisoned in 1877, "Cafiero read the French translation of Capital. The book electrified him with its brilliance, and he immediately set about writing a commentary on it. By the time Cafiero left prison in August 1878, he had a short book ready for publication. The following February his old newspaper, La Plebe, began to publish instalments, in Italian translation, of the thirty-first chapter of Capital, 'The Genesis of Industrial Capitalism,' and in March the paper announced the imminent publication of a 'compendium' of the entire book. On 20 June 1879 Il Capitale di Carlo Marx appeared in print Cafiero sent two copies of the Compendio to Marx in London. In an accompanying letter that began 'Stimatissimo Signore' (Most Esteemed Sir), he apologised for not letting Marx see the manuscript before publication. It had been his intention to do so, but then a publisher had unexpectedly made him an offer. He explained to Marx: 'Fear of losing a favourable opportunity prompted me to consent to the proposed publication.' Cafiero closed with an expression of 'the deepest respect' for Marx and the hope that he had done right by Capital Marx replied with high praise for Cafiero's book. Although Marx wrote to Cafiero in French, he had made a serious study of Italian in his youth and read the language quite well. Most such summaries of his work, Marx complained, frustrated him with their superficiality, misrepresentation, and outright fabrications. Cafiero, he continued, had mastered almost all of his ideas. He had noticed only 'one apparent deficiency' in the Compendio: Cafiero had not addressed his argument about how 'the necessary material conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat are spontaneously generated by the development of capitalist exploitation.' Marx, likewise, tactfully ignoring the unpleasantness of 1872, encouraged Cafiero to return to the omitted theme in a future work of exegesis" (Richard Drake, Apostles and Agitators, Italy's Marxist Revolutionary Tradition, p. 30ff.).

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Octavo (172 x 113 mm). Bound with the first Italian translation of J. S. Mill's The Subjection of Women in contemporary marbled boards, roan leather spine, ruled in blind, direct lettered gilt, edges sprinkled green and blue.


Ownership inscription to each half title of Nicola de Berardini. Spine ends and corners lightly rubbed, spine with a few spots of surface wear, paper stock of Il Capitale lightly browned; a very good copy.


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