Economic & Philosophical Manuscripts
of 1844
(as hypertext) by Karl Marx


This is a new version as of March 2007. The older version should still be available at the same web address. MS 1 has been redesigned and updated (04/02). You may access more maps/diagrams by clicking on the transport arrows when on the first map page, in the top navbar. A good Flash animation of the pagination sequence is now onsite (thanks to Martin Beveridge). Physical prints are no longer available but printing help and an image of a printout can be made available.

The third MS is now more-or-less complete, except for the pages that contain Marx's excerpts from Hegel's "Phenomenology".


Further Notes and Speculations on the EPM 1844

To recap: there are four Paris manuscripts by Marx made up of two notebooks plus another folio of continuous text that is called the second manuscript. The fourth manuscript (so far unavailable in English) is a part of the third notebook, it contains exerpts from Hegel on absolute knowledge where he has refuted Kant's idea that it is impossible to have definite knowledge.

In the First MS the inserted section heading 'Estranged Labour' is text that in fact grows out of a logical progression of economic concepts developed in the core, but which is here separated. The impression this leaves is that Marx begins a fresh subject that is now likely to be interpreted from a Hegelian or Feuerbachian 'spiritual' point of view, rather than developing the concept of alienation directly from out of the discussion of the three major economic categories of Adam Smith.

The first notebook contains a sewn together 'core' set of pages embedded in quotations from other authors on political economy and further elaboration by Marx, and a bibliography was also added by Marx. It contains text mainly dealing with Adam Smith and Economics but its outer sheets are philosophical and concerned with alienation, in other words the effect on Philosophy of Economic activity.




For example, category headings are inserted that were not used by the author, such as 'The Power of Money'. This is often inserted at the top of Marx's page XLI, however this text appears to continue the theme of the affirmation of human powers from earlier, his page XXXIV (column 2) which breaks off. The insertion of these headings as categories splits up the text and muddles the inner logic of the manuscripts.

In this, the third manuscript, the pages are divided mainly into two columns, which is not disclosed in other extant publications. These publications usually say they have columns not how the text fits the columns, and invariably place all the text from the entire MS (landscape) page into one (portrait) page column without disclosing where Marx made the division.

It seems possible that the Hegel manuscript works in a similar way in relation to the third notebook as the core (or first) manuscript does to the first notebook: absolute knowledge is the rational kernel of the Hegelian dialectic, its outer sheets deal with Philosophy but also touch on Economics insofar as it encroaches on Philosophy. So we have two cores or kernels, as it were, with two husks. The second manuscript appears to be a link between the two notebooks, first and third, Economics and Philosophy, and extrapolates what is found in them. Both "cores" are contained by "husks", but each core furnishes the husk of the other. Economics produces the constraint upon Philosophy, Philosophy the contraint upon Economics. This takes place in theory (political economic theory and philosophical theory) and in practice (the reproduction of the economic base and the ideological superstructure). Articulating both in relation to each other, as Marx does, reveals this mutual binding as full of contradictions.

In some editions of the EPM a note says that a page reference by Marx early on in the third MS (p.III) refers back to a lost page of the second MS. I am now doubtful about this as it seems to refer to the second column in the page in the third MS where there is a reference to Proudhon and the same theme (XXXIX). In any case, you can now try this for yourself. If this is so, then it shows Marx planned the text beforehand, something most commentators deny.

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Copyright Gary Tedman 2000 - Licence
last modified: 12/6/00 02:41:52 PM