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Palgrave Macmillan

Friedrich Engels for the 21st Century

Reflections and Revaluations

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  • © 2022


  • The first major collection of scholarly writing on Engels for 25 years
  • Presents an international array of diverse viewpoints and interdisciplinary topics
  • Accesses German-language sources and scholarly commentary

Part of the book series: Marx, Engels, and Marxisms (MAENMA)

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About this book

This edited volume presents an interdisciplinary and international revaluation of Friedrich Engels as much more than “junior partner” to Karl Marx or “second fiddle” in the Marxist orchestra. The nineteen critical essays in this collection are the work of scholars from Germany, USA, UK, Italy, China, India, Mexico and the Philippines. Together they present and evaluate archival material and scholarly commentary that covers epistemology, political economy, political theory, gender studies, cultural studies, political geography, philosophy of social science and sociological studies of class-conflict. Students, activists and specialists will find fresh consideration of familiar works, such as The Condition of the Working Class in England, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, and The Dialectics of Nature. They will also be able to explore Engels’s less familiar pamphleteering, literary criticism and political commentary through detailed contextualization andcareful analysis. Friedrich Engels for the 21st Century: Perspectives and Problems is unique in putting different intellectual and political receptions of Engels’s work into productive conversation, particularly from non-Anglophone scholars, translated here into English. Readers will appreciate why Engels has been so widely celebrated some two hundred years after his birth.  

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Table of contents (19 chapters)

  1. Epistemology and Philosophy of Nature

  2. The Condition of the Working Class

  3. Engels and Literature


‘This impressively internationalist collection is an essential read for those interested in Engels in his own right rather than as just a “second fiddle” to Marx. All contributions present fresh perspectives based on the latest research. They do full justice to the many areas in which Engels displayed his prodigious talents.’

– David McLellan, Professor Emeritus of Political Theory, University of Kent, UK

‘Based on the results of archival research, this book contributes to the liberation of Engels from the entrenched image that he is the man who distorted and dogmatized Marx's theory. This will allow us to appreciate Engels as an independent theorist and to understand his great achievements as they really are.’

– Ryuji Sasaki, Associate Professor of Economics, Rikkyo University, Japan

‘This fascinating collection of nineteen essays by an international cast of distinguished authors—expertly edited by Terrell Carver and Smail Rapic—reconsiders Engels’s many projects, problems, and prospects. Engels here gets the attention he sorely deserves as a solo act. Highly recommended.’

– James Farr, Professor of Political Science, Northwestern University, USA

‘This impressive collection demolishes the notion that Engels paved the way for a dogmatic interpretation of Marxism or that he was merely a populariser of Marx’s ideas. Instead, it establishes Engels as an independent and creative Marxist thinker whose ideas continue to enlighten us in the 21st century. ‘

– Camilla Royle, Fellow in Geography and Environment, London School of Economics, UK

‘This timely volume on Engels corrects a number of misconceptions about this fundamentally important yet underrated thinker. Its richness in historical detail offers new insights into Engels’s work and presents a genuinely interdisciplinary and global reading. It will be of great interest for scholars and students of politics, history, ecology and philosophythe world over.’

– Shannon Brincat, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

‘Why should we continue to read Engels in the 21st century? Because—as leading experts in the world establish here—the breadth and depth of his contribution to the critical social sciences is remarkable, and its resonance palpable. If you want to learn more about Marx’s too often underestimated and misunderstood intellectual partner—and you should—then you must read this book.’

– David Bates, Professor of Contemporary Political Thought & School Director of Research and Enterprise, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK

Editors and Affiliations

  • University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

    Terrell Carver

  • Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany

    Smail Rapic

About the editors

Terrell Carver is Professor of Political Theory at the University of Bristol, UK. He is co-general editor of the series “Marx, Engels, and Marxisms”. His most recent books are Engels Before Marx and The Life and Thought of Friedrich Engels, 30th Anniversary Edition, both from Palgrave Macmillan (2020).

Smail Rapic is Professor of Philosophy at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Germany. He has published widely on philosophical topics relating historical materialism to classical thinkers, such as Rousseau, and to contemporary philosophers, such as Habermas.

Bibliographic Information

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