Karl Marx: Thoroughly Revised Fifth Edition
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Isaiah Berlin's intellectual biography of Karl Marx has long been recognized as one of the best concise accounts of the life and thought of the man who had, in Berlin's words, a more "direct, deliberate, and powerful" influence on mankind than any other nineteenth-century thinker. A brilliantly lucid work of synthesis and exposition, the book introduces Marx's ideas and sets them in their context, explains why they were revolutionary in political and intellectual terms, and paints a memorable portrait of Marx's dramatic life and outsized personality. Berlin takes readers through Marx's years of adolescent rebellion and post-university communist agitation, the personal high point of the 1848 revolutions, and his later years of exile, political frustration, and intellectual effort. Critical yet sympathetic, Berlin's account illuminates a life without reproducing a legend.
New features of this thoroughly revised edition include references for Berlin's quotations and allusions, Terrell Carver's assessment of the distinctiveness of Berlin's book, and a revised guide to further reading.
far from revealing a special kind of truth called moral or religious, tends, in the case of men historically placed in certain situations, to engender myths and illusions, individual and collective. Being conditioned by the material circumstances in which they come to birth, the myths at times embody in the guise of objective truth whatever men in their misery wish to believe; under their treacherous influence men misinterpret the nature of the world in which they live, misunderstand their own
him about Aeschylus, Cervantes, Shakespeare, quoting long passages to his enthusiastic listener. Karl, who reached maturity at a very early age, became a devoted reader of the new Romantic literature: the taste he acquired during these impressionable years remained unaltered until his death. He was in later life fond of recalling his evenings with Westphalen, during what seemed to him to have been the happiest period of his life. He had been treated by a man much older than himself on terms of
intelligentsia of Germany. In 1840 a new king from whom much was expected, Frederick William IV, had ascended the throne of Prussia. Before his accession he had spoken more than once of a natural alliance of patriotism, democratic principles and the monarchy; he had spoken of granting a new constitution; ecstatic references began to appear in the liberal press to ‘Don Carlos’2 and ‘the crowned Romantic’. These promises came to less than nothing. The new monarch was no less reactionary, but more
his cause at every step, but his bête noire was undoubtedly Palmerston, whom he accused of being a disguised Russian agent, and mocked for his sentimental support of small nationalities in Europe. He was, however, a connoisseur of political skill in all its forms, and confessed to a certain admiration for the elan and adroitness with which that cynical and light-hearted statesman carried off his most unscrupulous strokes. His attacks on Palmerston brought him into contact with an exceedingly odd
revolutionaries. Indeed the very respect, and even admiration, with which many of them spoke of English life and English institutions were an implicit acknowledgement of their own personal failure, their loss of faith in the power of mankind to achieve its own emancipation. They saw themselves gradually sinking into a cautious, almost cynical quietism which they themselves knew to be an admission of defeat and a complete stultification of a life spent in warfare, the final collapse of the ideal