Moneybags Must Be So Lucky: On the Literary Structure of Capital

Moneybags Must Be So Lucky: On the Literary Structure of Capital

Moneybags Must Be So Lucky: On the Literary Structure of Capital

Moneybags Must Be So Lucky: On the Literary Structure of Capital

Excerpt

These reflections on the relation between the literary form and philosophical message of Capital were originally delivered at the Amherst campus of the University of Massachusetts as the Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Lectures for 1984-85. In their present form, they constitute the second of what will eventually be a trio of books devoted to a reinterpretation of Marx's great work. The entire undertaking dates from the late 1970s, when I began an attempt at interpretation and understanding that has occupied most of my scholarly attention for the past decade.

I had read volume one of Capital in 1957 as a graduate student and, like most progressive intellectuals of the sixties, I had pored over the early humanist writings--the 1844 Manuscripts, the German Ideology, "On the Jewish Question," and so forth. I even considered myself some sort of socialist, though what that meant was a bit unclear to me. But the opening chapters of Capital had mystified me, and I accepted, unthinking, the received opinion that Marx was something of a crackpot when it came to economic theory.

Then, in the fall of 1976, I offered a graduate seminar called "Classics of Critical Social Theory" and, as an act of bravado, assigned Capitol, volume one, to open the course. Almost from the first moment that I began to read through the text, as preparation for teaching, I was seized by a vision of Marx's enterprise that has guided my investigations ever since. As I worked through the extraordinary first chapter on . . .

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