Marx’s Notebooks of 1844–1847

  • Paresh Chattopadhyay
Part of the Marx, Engels, and Marxisms book series (MAENMA)


The first version of the MEGA was undertaken in the late twenties of the last century in the Soviet Union under the direction of David B. Riazanov, perhaps the most knowledgeable Marx scholar of the time, under whom the edition had attained the highest scholarly standard and textual exactitude. But soon, he was removed from this function by the regime. Subsequently arrested and condemned as a “conspirator” by the Stalinist show trial, he was executed in 1938. A new version of the MEGA started in 1972 with a “trial volume” [Probeband] of course under full Party-State control, through the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the USSR and the GDR. MEGA number 2 envisaged four “sections”: (1) works, articles, drafts, of Marx and Engels, (2) Capital and the works preceding and preparatory to Capital, (3) correspondence, (4) notebooks, excerpt copy books, and marginal comments made by the two authors. This otherwise ambitious and serious scholarly enterprise was, however, marred by its openly ideological orientation. Then, with the downfall of the “really (non)existing socialism,” the situation was radically changed. for The publishing of MEGA was rearranged and undertaken on the initiative of the Amsterdam Institute of Social History (AISG) with the establishment of the International Marx-Engels Foundation (IMES) in 1990. The IMES was statutorily obligated to be an association, free of any partisan politics, whose task was to continue the MEGA as the “complete historical-critical edition of the (already) published materials, manuscripts and the correspondence of Marx and Engels” (Rojahan 1994:5) with an exclusively scientific objective. Later, it was joined by the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (BBAW)—established in 1993—as a conjoint endeavour towards the same end. The works of the two authors would finally be published, free from any partisan political-ideological control, and in fact, under the new institutional reorganization for the edition, revised ‘guidelines’ were established in 1993—critically oriented towards ‘de-ideologizing’ the works of the two authors who could henceforth be read in much the same way as the other classics, such as Aristotle or Spinoza. For example, the ideologically surcharged term “marxism” and “marxist” would be totally absent from the editorial remarks accompanying the texts.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Paresh Chattopadhyay
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Quebec in MontrealWestmountCanada

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