In this ambitious and original study, Stathis Kouvelakis paints a rich panorama of the key intellectual and political figures in the effervescence of German thought before the 1848 revolutions. He shows how the attempt to chart a moderate, reformist path entered into crisis, generating two antagonistic perspectives within the progressive currents of German society. On one side were those socialists—such as Moses Hess and the young Friedrich Engels—who sought to discover a principle of harmony in social relations. On the other side, the poet Heinrich Heine and the young Karl Marx developed a new perspective, articulating revolutionary rupture, thereby redefining the very notion of politics itself. This new edition of the book includes a long interview with Kouvelakis which puts the work in context.
“Quite simply the best study of the ‘young Marx’ (pre-1848) and his immediate predecessors I have ever read.”
“Perhaps the first truly original new version of [Marx’s] formation since Auguste Cornu’s monumental postwar history … but also a new theory of what is structurally most central and distinctive in Marx’s achievement, namely the unique political nature and powers of the proletariat.”