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MARX, Karl.

Misère de la philosophie. Réponse à la philosophie de la misère de M. Proudhon.

Paris & Brussels, 1847 Stock Code: 119971
£25,000.00

A comprehensive exposition of the materialistic conception of history

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Notes

First edition of Marx's caustic attack on Proudhon, "the bitterest attack delivered by one thinker upon another since the celebrated polemics of the Renaissance" (Isaiah Berlin), one of 800 copies printed. "In 1846 Proudhon published his celebrated book, La Philosophie de la Misère. He and Marx had remained friends, though their relation had not been intimate since the departure of the latter from Paris. Shortly before the appearance of the book, Proudhon wrote to Marx: 'I await your critical rod' (J'attends votre férule critique). He had not long to wait. Marx had no sooner received a copy of the book and read it than he began to write, in French, a reply to it. This was published in Paris and Brussels in 1847 and forever shattered the friendship of the two men
The book is a masterpiece of polemical writing. Economic criticism does not generally make very fascinating or exhilarating reading, but Marx's book had both merits. The language is singularly simple and beautiful, the scorn is scathing, the satire keen, and the logic impenetrable. Marx smites Proudhon hip and thigh and makes his work appear as trivial as a schoolboy's essay. For readers of a later generation the brilliance of the book has rather tended to obscure its real merit and importance. For us today the importance of the work lies less in its controversial character, the refutation of Proudhon's theories, than in the fact that it contains the first fruits of the immense amount of reading done during the visit to England in the summer of 1845, and a full and generous recognition of that brilliant school of English Ricardian Socialists, from whom he has been charged with "pillaging" his ideas.
It has also another and greater merit. In it we get the first approach to a comprehensive exposition of the materialistic conception of history. Here we find elaborated the theory that history must be interpreted in the light of economic development The Misère de la Philosophie created a sensation in radical circles, as might have been expected, and added considerably to the fame of the author" (John Spargo, Karl Marx: His Life and Work, p. 92f).

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Description

Octavo. Uncut and partly unopened in the original printed paper wrappers. Housed in a red quarter morocco solander box by the Chelsea Bindery.

Condition

Wrappers lightly dust soiled, spine perished and partly missing, front joint professionally repaired, sewing still firm, corners and edges a little chipped; without the errata leaf, as often; a very good copy.

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