Written during the winter of 1857-8, the Grundrisse was considered by Marx to be the first scientific elaboration of communist theory. A collection of seven notebooks on capital and money, it both develops the arguments outlined in the Communist Manifesto (1848) and explores the themes and theses that were to dominate his great later work Capital. Here, for the first time, Marx set out his own version of Hegel's dialectics and developed his mature views on labour, surplus value and profit, offering many fresh insights into alienation, automation and the dangers of capitalist society. Yet while the theories in Grundrisse make it a vital precursor to Capital, it also provides invaluable descriptions of Marx's wider-ranging philosophy, making it a unique insight into his beliefs and hopes for the foundation of a communist state.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Notwithstanding its deficiencies, this is a publishing event of magnitude for Anglo-American intellectuals. The Grundrisse, as it is always called (its full title would be Basic Principles of the Critique of Political Economy) forms a crucial and intrinsically electrifying link between Marx's early work, his 1850's economic studies, and Capital itself; the manuscripts which compose it were lost for decades, and the work was generally unavailable in the West until 1953. In English, only tiny excerpts have appeared by way of Gorz, Marcuse, Lichtheim, Fischer and Marek; Hobsbawm presented bigger slices in Precapitalist Economic Formations (1965}. McLellan's translation is not only readable but elegant. However. McLellan, perhaps the most prominent British Marxologist (a term homologous with "entomologist," not "Marxist"), fails to tell us what he has cut or why in this selection - by no means a slight selection, but far too slender to merit the Grundrisse title tout court. The excerpts are broken into very brief chapters with one-sentence prefaces and roughly analytic titles like "Capital and Labor as Productive and Unproductive," "Exchange Relationships in Feudal and Capitalist Society," "Individuals and Society," etc. The Introduction, which focuses on the biographical externalities of Marx's compositions, is inadequate. McLellan briefly and rightly suggests that as a supremely comprehensive outline draft of Capital, the Grundrisse can be viewed as Marx's "most fundamental" work, given the incompleteness of Capital; but he doesn't even try to locate these writings in the substance of Marx's theoretical development, and in a most anti-Marxian spirit he refers to the key "noneconomic" elements as "digressions," though affirming their importance. More might have been expected from the author of the interesting and useful Marx Before Marxism (1970). But all the donnishness and skimpiness cannot extinguish the historical and theoretical importance of this work (Martin Nicolaus has given the fullest English precis so far in a 1968 New Left Review article). Finally, McLellan tells us that another translator's complete English version will not be available for a few years. (Kirkus Reviews)
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 912
Published: 9th June 1993
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 13.1 x 3.8
Weight (kg): 0.55
Edition Number: 1