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ENGELS, Friedrich.

The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844.

With Appendix written 1886, and Preface, 1887, Translated by Florence Kelley Wischnewetzky.

New York: John W. Lovell Company, [1887] Stock Code: 132006
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First edition in English of Die Lage der arbeitenden Klasse in England (1845), Engels's masterful survey of Worker's conditions. "In 1842, Engels left for England to work in his father's Manchester firm his father was a textile manufacturer in Westphalia. Already converted by Moses Hess to a belief in 'communism' and the imminence of an English social revolution, he used his two-year stay to study the conditions which would bring it about. From this visit, came two works which were to make an important contribution to the formation of Marxian socialism: 'Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy' (generally called the 'Umrisse') published in 1844 and The Condition of the Working Class in England, published in Leipzig in 1845." (Jones in The New Palgrave).

Florence Kelley Wischnewetzky (18591932), daughter of a Philadelphia judge and congressman, was an early supporter of women's suffrage and a lifelong feminist. She was educated at Cornell, and then Zurich, where she met European socialists, marrying a Polish-Russian medical student, Lazare Wischnewetzky, in 1884. They returned to America in 1886. She had already arranged to translate Engels's book into English, and maintained a close but turbulent relationship with him through correspondence, often asking Engels to change his new preface to the work due to events. The book was finally published in May 1887.

Kelley (she resumed the name after her divorce from Wischnewetzky in 1891) was shortly afterwards expelled from the Socialist Labor Party (Engels termed them a 'gang of pure louts') due to her insistance on the importance of the writings of Marx and Engels, but continued to pioneer social causes. She 'exerted an immediate and dramatic influence on the generation of women reformers clustered within the social settlement movement during the Progressive Era. Her understanding of the material basis of class conflict and her familiarity with American political institutions, combined with her spirited personality, placed her in the vanguard of a generation of reformers who sought to make American government more responsive to what they saw as the needs of working people' (ANB).

Presentation copy, inscribed by the translator to the German philosopher and socialist Joseph Dietzgen (1828-1888). "Self-educated, he worked out a system of materialist and dialectical philosophy often compared with that of Marx, who however, was quite critical of Dietzgen's views. A tanner by trade, Dietzgen became a master by the early 1850s; set up as a shopkeeper; in the early 1860s, took charge of a family tannery. He then went to Russia (1864) to manage a large government tannery; returned (1869) to hsi native Rhineland to run a tannery inherited from an uncle. In Russia he wrote his first book Das Wesen des menschlichen Kopfarbeit (1869). Dietzgen also contributed articles to the Social-Democratic press; organized an International Working Men's Association section, and was a delegate to the Hague Congress (1872). In 1884 he settled in the U.S. for good (having emigrated there twice before); editor of Der Sozialist (NY); moved to Chicago (1886); in 1887 wrote The positive outcome of philosophy (1906). Throughout he remained active in the socialist movement." (Draper).

Loosely inserted in the book is a single folded sheet, headed "From Engels" and dated from London January 27, 1887, offering opinions on the socialist movement in America and recounting how Marx and Engels worked with the various bodies when they created the first International.

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Octavo. Original brown grained cloth, boards with bevelled edges, spine ruled and lettered gilt, top edge gilt. Housed in a brown quarter morocco solander box by the Chelsea Bindery.


Spine ends and corners very lightly worn. Presentation inscription to blank leaf preceding title: "To my honored Comrade Joseph Dietzgen with the compliments of the translator." One or two marginal markings; a very good copy with a splendid association.


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