Of haircuts and Rhino coats…
This is the worked up text of a talk I gave in Chandernagore in February 2016. The photo is one I’ve failed to trace from the dates and evidence in the letters (see below) of the visit to the barber – if anyone is good at that sort of tracking, please let me know, the photographer of the first one is E. Dutertre, and the second, if authentic, probably the same.
[Added 3 April 2018 – increasingly the suspicion that the makeover photo is photoshopped is being confirmed. Michael Krätke includes the two portraits in a recent article with the caption:
“Figure 1. Left: last photograph of Karl Marx, taken by E. Dutertre in Algiers, on 28 April 1882.Right: a photomontage based upon Marx’s own correspondence, where he said that the photo was taken just a short while before he went to the barber to have his hair cut and his beard shaved off, and shows how he may have looked after his visit to the barber.
Left: IISH Collection BG A9/383. Right: creator and origins unknown.”
Krätke, Michael 2018 ‘Marx and World History’. International Review of Social History, doi:10.1017/S0020859017000657 page 13
There is also a fiction volume called Marx’s Beard I have not yet read, and marx in Algiers, mentioned elsewhere. So this story has a few loose ends still.
And the source for all this, the photo itself, Marx writes a ps in a letter to Fred on 28 April 1882 in Algiers saying he will pick up the photo in two days. From the MEGA 3(4):
[The rest of this article is being rewritten and will be linked to here in due course. Thanks to those who already downloaded a copy, and stay tuned for more after I deal with the substantial and helpful comments of reviewers].