The Sunday Salon: The Communist Manifesto

As part of The Sunday Salon — a blog­ging exper­i­ment where read­ers post brief art­icles on the books they’re cur­rently read­ing — here’s the tome I’m per­us­ing today: The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. It is a doc­u­ment designed to cap­ture the essen­tial nature of com­mun­ism in the form pushed by European revolu­tion­ar­ies in the mid nine­teenth cen­tury, as agreed at a London com­mit­tee meet­ing.

Oddly, this edi­tion begins with an intro­duc­tion that takes up fully half of the book. Thanks, but that’s not what I paid for. Then the read­er gets treated to a dozen pre­faces that seem to take up half of the remain­ing half. But Bert and Ernie — sorry, Marx and Engels — soon launch into their revolu­tion­ary tract. What an eye-open­er. It’s great to get defin­i­tions of ‘pro­let­ari­at’ and ‘bour­geois’ from the horses’ mouths. And, thus far, it’s clearly writ­ten and straight­for­ward.

I’m read­ing the book as research for the nov­el I’m cur­rently writ­ing. I wouldn’t call this primary research, because my nov­el does not deal dir­ectly with com­mun­ism. But I’d feel a bit sheep­ish writ­ing about pre-revolu­tion­ary Russia and not hav­ing read The Communist Manifesto (or Capital).

The book is avail­able for free online.

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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