Marx's General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels

Marx's General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels

Tristram Hunt

Language: English

Pages: 464

ISBN: 080509248X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


"Written with brio, warmth, and historical understanding, this is the best biography of one of the most attractive inhabitants of Victorian England, Marx's friend, partner, and political heir."―Eric Hobsbawm

Friedrich Engels is one of the most intriguing and contradictory figures of the nineteenth century. Born to a prosperous mercantile family, he spent his life enjoying the comfortable existence of a Victorian gentleman; yet he was at the same time the co-author of The Communist Manifesto, a ruthless political tactician, and the man who sacrificed his best years so that Karl Marx could have the freedom to write. Although his contributions are frequently overlooked, Engels's grasp of global capital provided an indispensable foundation for communist doctrine, and his account of the Industrial Revolution, The Condition of the Working Class in England, remains one of the most haunting and brutal indictments of capitalism's human cost.

Drawing on a wealth of letters and archives, acclaimed historian Tristram Hunt plumbs Engels's intellectual legacy and shows us how one of the great bon viveurs of Victorian Britain reconciled his exuberant personal life with his radical political philosophy. This epic story of devoted friendship, class compromise, ideological struggle, and family betrayal at last brings Engels out from the shadow of his famous friend and collaborator.

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Road during the 1880s. "Upstairs we soon began a political conversation, which often assumed a very lively character;' Bernstein recalled of a rambunctious evening at No. 122. "Engels' stormy temperament, which 243 245 MARX'S GENERAL THE GRAND LAMA OF THE REGENT's PARK ROAD to the man whom the British Marxist Henry Hyndman called the "grand Lama of the Regent's Park Road." It was just about as far as you could get from the seedy image of emigre anarchism-the worid of dirty pubs, furtive

25 (the minimum age) who voted for us spent two to three years in uniform and they know perfectly well how to handle a needle gun and a rifled cannon." 76 As socialism attracted increasing popular support, it was essential that its philosophy make its way into the barracks and battalions of the Prussian regiments, .where soldiers would then begin to question the orders of their reactionary, bellicose commanders. "When every able-bodied man serves in the army, this army · increasingly reflects

MajorGeneral."28 I've studied matters Phenomenological, Theological also, to my distress, THE DRAGON's SEED 57 Aesthetical too, Metaphysical, Logical, Not entirely without success. Similarly, Hegel's cameo appearance is wittily done: To Science I've devoted every hour, And I've taught Atheism with all my power. Self-consciousness upon the Throne I seated, And thought that God had thereby been defeated. Behind the farce, some more revealing elements are discernable-not least, Engels's depiction

succumbed to Parisian street tradition and, after the accidental shooting of protestors by nervous soldiers, the capital embarked on its familiar choreography of revolution. Marx and Engels, stuck in Belgium, were desperate to make sure that Brussels did not miss out on this revolutionary impetus sweeping the Continent-or, as they put it in a letter to Julian Harney, they wanted the locals "to obtain through the ways proper to Belgian political institutions the advantages which the French people

formed the Central March Association to defend the liberal settlement of March '48, and by the spring of 1849 it had over half a million members. The struggle was far from over. Meanwhile, the Neue Rheinische Zeitung had found its true voice after Marx took the paper in a more obviously left-wing direction. Now openly blaming the weak-willed bourgeoisie for the "failure" of the revolution, Marx looked to develop an independent political line for the 166 168 MARX'S GENERAL working classes

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