Study Questions on The Portable Karl Marx.

Please note that there is a Reader's Guide at the back of the book, which helps explain terms that might be unfamiliar.

Kamenka's Introduction (pp. xi-xiv):


Marx the Man:  Documents, Letters, Reminiscences (pp. 5-71):


The Formation of a Young Radical:  Early Writings, 1841-44 (pp. 75-124):

Consider the "Correspondence of 1843" (pp. 92-95):


Consider the Introduction to "Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right " (pp. 115-124):


Beyond Philosophy to Communism, Political Economy, and the Materialist Conception of History:  Transitional Writings, 1844-47 (pp. 125-195)

Consider the manuscript fragment "Alienated Labour" (from Economico-Philosphical Manuscripts of 1844, pp. 131-146).  


Consider these selections from The German Ideology, vol. 1 (pp. 162-195)

In the section "The Materialist Conception of History" (163-171). 

In the section "On History" (pp. 171-173) 

In the the section "Consciousness and the Division of Labour" (173-183). 

In the the section "Law and the Materialist Conception of  History" (pp. 183-186). 

In the section "The Role of Violence in History" (pp. 186-188).  

In the section "Communism as the End of History" (pp. 189-195). 


Revolution and Counter-Revolution:  Political Writings, 1848-1852(pp. 197-323).

Based upon The Manifesto of the Communist Party:  


OK, now let's connect this to our earlier readings and discussions:

1)  What elements in Marx's methodology and in his basic ideas are clearly rooted in the traditions and ideas of the Enlightenment?

2)  What aspects of Marx's ideas appear to be rooted in (or at least resonate with) Romanticism?

3) In what ways were Marx's views a response to the internal political contradictions in European society highlighted by the French revolution?

4) In what sense were Marx's views a response to the internal social contradictions in European society highlighted by the industrial revolution?

5) Compare and contrast Marx's analytical methods and conclusions to those of Mill.


Note--Although we do not have time to discuss it in class, for an outstanding example of Marx as "contemporary historian," read the selections from The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (pp. 287-323).   

Note--The works that we have discussed represent the approach that is sometimes described as the "Young Marx."  In his "mature" (later) work, Marx focused brilliantly on the history and political economy of capitalism, most famously in a three volume work entitled Capital.  For representative excerpts of "Late Marx" see pp. 325-328, 369-374, 394-432, 465-493, 505-507.