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Friday, March 29, 2013

Marx as a Man of His Time - a Book by Jonathan Sperber

I found in the Books Update section of NY Times a review of a new book on Karl Marx, authored by Jonathan Sperber, a professor at the University of Missouri specializing in European history. A Marx that's neither the revered revolutionary icon, nor the reviled wellspring of Communist totalitarianism, more a genuine human being. If he were to live today, such a guy would be a compulsive blogger, and picking Twitter fights with Andrew Sullivan and Naomi Klein: not a timeless ideological canon, not a prophet of the future, just a man of his time, so a figure of the past. According to Sperber, Marx was not a body of ideas, but a human being responding to events. In this context, it’s telling that Marx’s prime vocation was not as an academic but as a campaigning journalist: Sperber suggests Marx’s two stints at the helm of a radical paper in Cologne represented his greatest periods of professional fulfillment. Accordingly, much of what the scholars have tried to brand as Marxist philosophy was instead contemporary commentary, reactive and therefore full of contradiction.

(A Life in Books)



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