[OPE-L:2537] Margaret Fay

From: David Laibman (SCSJJ@CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU)
Date: Fri Mar 17 2000 - 11:48:06 EST

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Dear OPE comrades,
     I have been a lurker, even a quasi-lurker (sometimes no time
even to read everything). The usual apologies. But I can add
something on Margaret Fay.
     She wrote an article for *Science & Society* (47:2, Summer
1983), entitled "The Influence of Adam Smith on Marx's Theory of
Alienation." This was based on her dissertation, which was
approved posthumously. She may have died a bit later than 1980-
81, but I think it was before her article appeared. She was
deeply conflicted about the article and the dissertation, and it
took a great deal of coaxing (from me) to get her to finish the
article. I never met her in person, but we corresponded quite a
bit, and I had a sense of her deep anguish. Then when news of
her suicide came, on top of sorrow there was the frustration
of having had a glimpse of her pain but not reading the signs
or responding adequately. Of course, that is hindsight.
    The dissertation/article is based on Fay's study of the
original ms. of the *1844 Manuscripts,* in Amsterdam, where
she discovered, I think originally, that this text was written
on paper headed in three columns following the Adam Smith
categories, "wages of labor," "profit of stock," "rent of
land." The text was also bunched in passages placed in these
columns, suggesting some purpose; in other words, Marx was
presumably not just using paper that had been prepared with
a different purpose in mind. Fay has an Appendix in which
she describes the intricate and unique physical construction
of the manuscript; the way the pages were sewn together. I
am not sure she was able finally to extract the meaning out
of this that she was seeking, and she was despondent about
it. We thought (and I still think) the effort alone is a
contribution to Marx scholarship, even if the search remains
    So, I add this one little additional piece to the picture.
    Best to all,

      o/^^^^^) o !
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    o(_____/_(_ /(/ / !_(_ /!_
  David Laibman
  Professor, Economics
  City University of New York
  Mail to: 50 Plaza St. E., #2C
  Brooklyn NY 11238 / USA
  (phone) 789-9565 / (fax) 789-3864

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