[OPE] Marx to Lasalle in 1858

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Wed May 27 2009 - 15:30:17 EDT

"Now let me tell you how my political economy is getting on. I have in fact
been at work on the final stages for some months. But the thing is
proceeding very slowly because no sooner does one set about finally
disposing of subjects to which one has devoted years of study than they
start revealing new aspects and demand to be thought out further. On top of
which I am not master of my time but rather its slave. Only the nights are
left for my own work, which in turn is often disrupted by bilious attacks or
recurrences of liver trouble. All things considered it would be most
convenient for me to bring out the whole work in instalments without any
rigid datelines. This might also have the advantage of making it easier to
find a publisher, since less working capital would be tied up in the
venture. You would, of course, oblige me by trying to find someone in Berlin
prepared to undertake this. By 'instalments', I mean fascicles similar to
those in which Vischer's Aesthetik came out.

The work I am presently concerned with is a Critique of Economic Categories
or, if you like, a critical exposť of the system of the bourgeois economy.
It is at once an exposť and, by the same token, a critique of the system. I
have very little idea how many sheets the whole thing will amount to. Had I
the means, the time and the leisure to finish the whole thing off completely
prior to placing it before the public, I would condense it a great deal, a
method for which I have always had a predilection. But printed thus, in
successive instalments - easier for readers to understand perhaps but
certainly detrimental to the form - it is bound to be rather more diffuse.
Nota bene: As soon as you know definitely whether or not the thing can be
done in Berlin, kindly write to me, since if it's no go there I'll try
Hamburg. A further point is that I must be paid by the publisher who takes
the thing on - a stipulation over which it might come to grief in Berlin.

The presentation - the manner of it, I mean - is entirely scientific, hence
unobjectionable to the police in the ordinary sense. The whole is divided
into 6 books: 1. On Capital (contains a few introductory Chapters). 2. On
Landed Property. 3. On Wage Labour. 4. On the State. 5. International Trade.
6. World Market. I cannot, of course, avoid all critical consideration of
other economists, in particular a polemic against Ricardo in as much as even
he, qua bourgeois, cannot but commit blunders even from a strictly economic
viewpoint. But generally speaking the critique and history of political
economy and socialism would form the subject of another work, and, finally,
the short historical outline of the development of economic categories and
relations yet a third. Now that I am at last ready to set to work after 15
years of study, I have an uncomfortable feeling that turbulent movements
from without will probably interfere after all. Never mind. If I finish too
late and thus find the world no longer attentive to such subjects, the fault
is clearly my own.

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Received on Wed May 27 15:33:27 2009

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