Karl Marx: His Life and Environment
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First published over fifty years ago, Isaiah Berlin's compelling portrait of the father of socialism has long been considered a classic of modern scholarship and the best short account written of Marx's life and thought. It provides a penetrating, lucid, and comprehensive introduction to Marx as theorist of the socialist revolution, illuminating his personality and ideas, and concentrating on those which have historically formed the central core of Marxism as a theory and practice. Berlin goes on to present an account of Marx's life as one of the most influential and incendiary social philosophers of the twentieth century and depicts the social and political atmosphere in which Marx wrote.
This edition includes a new introduction by Alan Ryan which traces the place of Berlin's Marx from its pre-World War II publication to the present, and elucidates why Berlin's portrait, in the midst of voluminous writings about Marx, remains the classic account of the personal and political side of this monumental figure.
revolutions of the earth, may perhaps be satisfactorily explained. -ifegel developed this still more widely and ambitiously. taught that the explanation offered by French materialism afforded at best a hypothesis for explaining He but no dynamic phenomena, differences but not change. Given such and such material conditions, it may be possible to predict that the men born in them some static will develop certain characteristics, directly attributable to physical causes and to the
enlightened the critic, the more searching his criticism, the more rapidly will the actual progress towards the real. For, as Hegel had indubitably said, reality is spiritual in*cEaracter and grows more perfect lifts inj3^ yery^ growth of critical self-consciousness among men. Nor was there any reason to suppose that such progress must be gradual and painless. Citing again the be found in Hegel, they reminded undeniably their opponents that progress was the result of tension between opposites,
ends in creative revolution, in nature and society alike. In nature these forces are physical, chemical, biological: in society they are specifically social. XWhat are the social forces between which the conflict that they were embodied uTnations, each of which represents the development of a specific culture or Idea. Marx, following Saint-Simon s Fourier, and not unaffected perhaps by Sismondi were forces Aese of pre^ crisis, regHe^ jhat theory 5 *I was led , he wrote twelve and dominantly
transformations the should always be made between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, (l distiriction which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, aesthetic or philosophical in short the ideological forms in men become conscious of the out.) Just as it would be impossible conflict and which fight it to arrive at a correct KARL MARX 128 judgement about an individual by noting only his own
his new method of analysis. They are sharp, lucid, realistic, astonish ingly modern in tone, and aimed deliberately against the prevailing optimistic temper of his time. As a revolutionary he disapproved of conspiratorial methods, which he^ thought obsolete and ineffective, calculated to irritate public opinion without altering its and instead set himself to create an open foundations, political party dominated by the new view of society. His later years are occupied almost exclusively with