3 thoughts on “Marx’s own copy of Kapital, page one

  1. Just found this by John Holloway – no date (at least after 2014), which comments in very interesting ways on a topic close to my heart… well, dictionary…:


    Holloway’s piece does not allow comments, so I am just putting this here (and have emailed an address I found for him, hope he replies):

    Dear Prof Holloway, John, if I may.

    I’ve just read your text on The First Sentence and wanted to touch base. I liked it, especially the emphasis on wealth. Crucual point. We come to the same conclusion about ‘appears’ – in German its more explicit – erscheint als, and of course that has links to Erscheinung, both a Hegelian word to coquette with, and to engage with the spectral (Derrida would have loved to find that since he also – and perhaps only – reads first sentences).

    I am attaching an old text called The Devils Party (ed Tom Bunyard 2008) where I also discuss the first sentence (its the entire book, my chapter is a ways in, p50 ‘Translating Appearance’). I am unfortunately somewhat impolitely taking Zizek to task for mis-citation, but I have in the meantime written a much longer commentary on the other implications of Marx’s word use, especially the silent nod to Adam Smith, the self quotation, and that the word ungeheure is perhaps better rendered as ‘monstrous’ and Warensammlung is not commodity collection so much as more colloquial – as in something like a great pile of stuff.

    I am also attaching a jpeg of the first page in Marx’s own copy of Das Kapital. My text, when I finally get it ready for a publisher, also looks at Marx revising yet again. This is the copy found in his library after 1883. See how he is making it even more colloquial – wo for in welchen. Marx always revising – the French text from 1972 is perhaps better, and after all is an authorised last published revision. In Turkish it seems they translated from the penguin because they use appears, I am trying to get someone to explain the Chinese and Russian trans now also. But look at how he massacres the second paragraph here!

    Erscheint is the crucial word for the chapter in my take – it appears so very many times in the text and is key to the appearance form in which the so-called fetish like character…

    You will see what that leads to… and the rest of the book should also not be ignored. Umwälzung for example is badly translated as revolution, not upheaval, as Gayatri Spivak has pointed out in the intro to her Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalisation. Also Umschlag…

    OK, enough – just wanted to touch base and say I read and enjoyed your contribution.

    Red Salute


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