S. S. Prawer

Professor S. S. Prawer (1925–2012) was Taylor Emeritus Professor of German Language and Literature at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of Queen’s College, Oxford. His many books include Caligari’s Children, A Cultural Citizen of the World: Sigmund Freud’s Knowledge and Use of British and American Writing, and Karl Marx and World Literature.


  • The bookish Marx: Lesley Chamberlain on Karl Marx and World Literature

    "A vivid biography, bringing the man back to life by decoding his prose expertly"—this is how writer and critic Lesley Chamberlain describes S. S. Prawer's Karl Marx and World Literature in a review for the New Statesman.

    By delving into Marx's literary taste, Prawer's classic sheds light on how being an eager reader contributed to turn a young German doctoral student into a great political thinker, with a gift for vibrant metaphors, Chamberlain writes:

    Alienation, fetishism and a topsy-turvy world that needs setting aright all began as moments Marx encountered in world literature. He conceived of literature, in a Goethean fashion, as Welt­literatur, the repository of universal human imagination. ... Literature taught Marx about life. There was scope for him to become carried away by his facility for coining metaphors and then to see them enacted in the industrial towns of his age.

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