Re: Marx's original manuscript of Volume 3

From: Regina Roth (roth@BBAW.DE)
Date: Tue Jul 06 2004 - 13:00:26 EDT


>[A question for Regina: exactly when were the 1867-68 manuscripts
>written? How close were the dates to the date of this important
>letter of 30 April 1868? I wonder if these drafts of Chapter 1
>were the main impetus for Marx's letter? The letter has always
>seemed to "come out of the blue", because I thought Marx was mainly
>preoccupied during this period with the publication of Volume 1 in
>late 1867. I didn't know that Marx was also reworking Chapter 1 of
>Volume 3 during this period. Regina, was Marx also working on
>other parts of Volume 3 during 1867-68, or only Chapter 1?]

The alternative beginnings of Book 3 form part of several papers of varying length -
one of them covers 79 pages - which Marx gathered in two folders: "Belonging to book
2" and "Belonging to book 3". He did this because he had promised to the publisher
that he should get the manuscripts for book 2 and 3 (planned to make up volume 2 of
"Capital") by autum 1867; book 4 (volume 3) should have been ready by winter 1867.

Marx did not date any of those manuscripts in the two folders. There are only some -
rather rare - hints in the correspondence, and also some formal properties of the texts,
which hardly offer exact criteria for dating the texts on a specific month or day (e.g.
different spellings, for instance, of "price" or different writings of formula). Due to this
rare evidence, the dating of those manuscripts has been subject to intense debate,
especially between Russian and Japanese Researchers.

In my view, the actual debate may be summarized as follows. There have been two
periods of intense work of Marx on the continuation of "Capital" that are not doubted:
Autumn/winter 1867 and spring 1868. Work was devoted on the third as well as on the
second book. There also seems to be agreement on the fact, that Marx wrote the
alternative beginnings for book 3 in autumn 1867, before turning to his new work on
the second book. Then, at latest in April 1868, Marx dealt again with the third book,
this time by writing some elaborations on the rate of surplus value, the rate of profit,
the cost price and the turnover of capital. The letters to Engels from April, 22 and 30
give evidence of this. As far as I can see, these texts dealt mainly with problems of the
first chapter of Marx's manuscript from 1864/65, but some of these subjects also
covered the ground of the second book; so it appears that Marx considered alternative
ways for what to present in book 2 and what in book 3. Yet, it is not clear, how long this
work went on.

What seems to be rather clear, is, that from April 1868 onwards up to spring 1869,
Marx began to make excerpts for the second book, which he probably pursued until
spring 1869. (Besides, this note-book has been dated by Marx.) He made use of it for
the so-called "Manuscript II", the second version of book 2. Marx probably wrote it
between the end of 1868 and 1870 or 1871. (It will appear in MEGA-volume II/11.)

In addition, it is assumed, that Marx already worked on the continuation of "Capital"
between March and May/June 1867, and also after finishing work on the proofs of
book/volume 1 between June and August 1857. (It appeard in September 1867.) But it
is a matter of discussion, on which manuscripts.


Dr. Regina Roth
Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften
- Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe -
Jaegerstrasse 22/23
D-10117 Berlin
Tel.: 030/20370274

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