Karl Marx Interview Now

October 30, 2003

Karl Marx Interview

Now this is good fun: via Crooked Timber I learn that Prospect Magazine conducts a posthumous interview with Karl Marx.

The most interesting, certainly the most memorable, of my undergraduate classes was an upper-level reading class on Marx, Melville and Thoreau, team taught by a historian who studied Thoreau's world and a very good deconstructuralist literary critic ( but of the literate variety, not one of the folks who does the postmodern drone). We met in an octagonal room on the ground floor of the old college observatory and sat at a large round table. We read Walden, we read 18th Brumiare (good stuff that), we read short stories. We tried to read Melville's Pierre, I think some of us even finished it. I did not. Marx loved Sir Walter Scott, so we read Waverly and then we talked and talked about them. Some of us started calling the class "talking about talking about."

Maybe I will assign some Melville short stories next semester. I miss talking about them.

Both Melville and Marx are actually fun stylists, in a perverse and Romantic kind of a way. "Hegel remarks someplace, that all history, as it were, repeats itself. He neglects to mention, however, that it does so twice: the first time as tragedy and the second time as farce." (from memory - not sure if I quoted it correctly.)

And, as we learned that semester, Marx mis-quoted. The bit about History repeating itself comes from Heine, not Hegel. So when Marx quoted, or repeated, these words, he got them wrong. How farcical!

Posted by Red Ted at October 30, 2003 08:29 AM | TrackBack