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Karl Marx: An Intellectual Biography

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Karl Marx

An Intellectual Biography

Rolf Hosfeld
Translated from the German by Bernard Heise

198 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-742-4 $29.95/£23.95 / Hb / Published (December 2012)

eISBN 978-1-78238-430-4 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Buy the eBook from these vendorsRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“The book by Rolf Hosfeld is a sophisticated exploration into the intellectual and historical context in which Karl Marx developed his thought and work. A scholar with a broad and highly interdisciplinary cultural background, the author effectively combines the history of political and philosophical ideas, political and intellectual history and the attention to the world of literary works to cast light upon the multiple sources and internal developments of Marx's ideas.” · CEU Political Science Journal

“It is an excellent short sketch of Marx’s ideas, placed very carefully in their original nineteenth-century context… a worthwhile read, to be recommended to anyone interested in Marx’s ideas, their place in the intellectual world of the nineteenth century, and their contemporary relevance. Indeed, a major virtue of the book is its connection of these two latter elements: Hosfeld’s account of Marx’s place in the nineteenth century makes the strengths and weaknesses of Marx’s ideas for an analysis of the present particularly evident.” · German Studies Review

“…this work serves as a useful and interesting introduction to Marx and his philosophy. Hosfeld’s brief yet lucid précis of Capital, Volume I is especially notable. Readers with a budding interest in Marx will be rewarded with an engaging narrative.” · Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

“…an elegant compact study [that] explores Marx’s ideas in all their messy complexity.” · Times Literary Supplement

“Perhaps the most important argument of this [excellent new biography] is the need to locate Marx’s communism firmly in the years before 1848…with the history of Marx the man as much as Marx the thinker, for which Hosfeld’s volume is an invaluable starting point… This is an important corrective to much of the literature on Marx, which is often impatient, like the utopian socialists before 1914 were, to see his vision realised rather than to understand Marx in his context.” · Literary Review

This 200 page compendium is a deftly written biography offering an informed and informative presentation of Marx's turbulent personal and professional life. A seminal work of impressive scholarship, [this book] is enhanced by the inclusion of an extensive bibliography making it an especially useful and highly recommended contribution to academic library reference collections and Marxist Studies supplemental reading lists.” · The Midwest Book Review

Praise for the German edition:

“A brilliant work, part biography, part introduction, ideal for a wider readership: accessible and informed, intriguing and reflective.” · Die Zeit

“This wise Marx book is a fascinating biography of ideas that above all convinces through its insightful philosophical and historical contexts—an elegant volume.” · Die Welt

“Hosfeld offers a fresh view of Marx’ theory, free of ideological or political blinders. A clear-sighted and well-informed account.” · Frankfurter Rundschau

“This book is a delightful gain: biography, theory, revolutionary history, modern history—altogether convincing and gripping. The lively portrait of a brilliant, eternally radical, and strictly speaking rather apolitical, philosopher is illustrated here by Rolf Hosfeld…A great achievement.” · DeutschlandRadio


Is the Grand Old Man re-emerging? More than twenty years after the collapse of Communism, and in the midst of the crisis of Capitalism, Karl Marx’s ideas, at least in part, are back in vogue. He is often invoked, yet often misunderstood. In this award-winning biography Rolf Hosfeld offers a new, transparent, and critical view of Marx’s turbulent life. Linking the contradictory politician and revolutionary to his work—his errors and misjudgments as well as his pioneering ideas—Hosfeld presents a vivid account of Marx’s life between Trier and London. At the same time, he renders accessible Marx’s complex work, one of the world’s most important contributions to the history of ideas.

Rolf Hosfeld studied German Literature, History, Political Science, and Philosophy at the Universities of Frankfurt/Main and Berlin, where he received his PhD with a dissertation on Heinrich Heine. He has worked as university lecturer, editor, journalist, and film and TV director and has published numerous essays, scholarly articles, and books on historical, cultural, and political topics, including a biography of Hegel, a history of the Armenian genocide, a history of the GDR, and a biography of Kurt Tucholsky. Currently, he is the Academic Director of the Potsdam Lepsius House, a Research Center for Genocide Studies, and works as an independent writer.

Subject: History (General)Political and Economic AnthropologySociology
Area: Germany


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