Marx and Le Capital

Evaluation, History, Reception
London-New York: Routledge
304 pages

Over the past few years, Marx’s Capital has received renewed academic and popular attention. This volume is dedicated to the history of the making, the theoretical evaluation, and the analysis of the dissemination and reception of an almost unknown version of Capital: the French translation, published between 1872 and 1875, to which Marx participated directly.

In revising this version, Marx decided to introduce some additions and modifications, not hesitating to describe in the postscript Le Capital as ‘a scientific value independent of the original’. To mark the 150th anniversary of the French translation of Capital (1872-2022), 15 authors have helped to shed light on its history and main features, as well as analysing its later fortunes in France and in the rest of the world. They also provide a more exhaustive account of the ideas of the "late" Marx. The book also includes a previously unpublished selection of 31 letters from correspondence of Karl Marx, Maurice Lachâtre, Just Vernouillet and Friedrich Engels related to the making of Le Capital. 10 of these letters by Marx were only recently rediscovered and are translated here for the first time in English.

This book is an indispensable source for academic communities who are increasingly interested in rediscovering Marx beyond 20th century Marxism. Moreover, it will be of appeal to graduate students, as well as established scholars, interested in French socialism and the history of the labour movement.

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Assembling a new generation of interpreters and established scholars, Marcello Musto offers us a profoundly new vision of Marx’s critique of political economy, showing how much the anti-colonial and universal dimension of Capital – that is becoming widely recognized nowadays – owes to its French translation.
Jacques Bidet, author of Exploring Marx's Capital

Table of contents

About the Editor vii
Notes on Contributors viii
Note on the Text x
Preface xi
Acknowledgements xiii

1. Introduction 1
Marcello Musto

Part I: The Value of Le Capital 9
2. Marx's ‘Capital’ after the Paris Commune: The Falling Rate of Employment and the Fate of the Working Class 11
David Norman Smith
3. Marx’s French Edition of ‘Capital’ as Unexplored Territory: From the Centralisation of Capital to Societies Beyond Western Europe 41
Kevin B. Anderson
4. The French Edition of ‘Capital’ and the Question of Colonialism 60
Jean-Numa Ducange
5. Engels and ‘Le Capital’: The Politics of the Fourth Edition of ‘Das Kapital’ (1890) 71
Terrell Carver

Part II: The Making of Le Capital 93
6. ‘Le Capital’: A Transnational, Family, and Personal Endeavour 95
Kenneth Hemmerechts and Nohemi Jocabeth Echeverria Vicente
7. From Moscow to Paris: The Russian Roots of the First French Translation of Marx’s ‘Capital’ 117
Guillaume Fondu
8. Reading ‘Le Capital’: Marx as a Translator 132
Paul Reitter
9. An Unfinished Project: Marx’s Last Words on ‘Capital’ 144
Michael R. Krätke

Part III: The Dissemination and the Reception of Le Capital 173
10. The Contradictory Reception of the French Edition of ‘Capital’ 175
Jean-Numa Ducange and Jean Quétier
11. A Tale of Two Translations: A Comparison of the Roy-Marx and Lefebvre Translations of ‘Capital’, Volume I 189
Alix Bouffard and Alexandre Feron
12. The French Edition of ‘Capital’ in Germany, France, Anglophone Countries, and Japan 204
Babak Amini

Part IV: Letters on Le Capital 225
13. Selected Correspondence on the French Translation of ‘Capital’ 227
Karl Marx, Maurice Lachâtre, Just Vernouillet, and Friedrich Engels (Introduced, edited, and translated by Patrick Camiller)

Index 267