Manuscripts and Politics

  • Terrell Carver
  • Daniel Blank
Part of the Marx, Engels, and Marxisms book series (MAENMA)


The German Ideology (so-called), edited from manuscripts of 1845 to 1846, has often been regarded as one of the most outstanding “books” ever written by Karl Heinrich Marx (1818–83) and Friedrich Engels (1820–95) (see Libretti, 1998: 61). It has been said to represent “the first recognisable ‘Marxist’ work” by the two authors (Arthur, 1982a: 4). It has also been labeled “the first mature work of Marxism” (Churbanov, 1976a: XIII). Its content has been praised as the “first document of dialectical-materialist philosophy of society and its history” and even as the “birth certificate of the world view of Marx and Engels” (Kopf, 2001: 1). According to the popular Marx-Engels Collected Works, English-language edition, “It was in The German Ideology that the materialist conception of history, historical materialism, was first formulated as an integral theory” (Churbanov, 1976a: XIII). In particular, the first chapter “L Feuerbach” of The German Ideology was considered “to mark a ‘break’ in Marx’s intellectual and doctrinal development” (O’Malley, 1994: xiv). It is in this “first chapter” that one supposedly finds “a general introduction expounding the materialist conception of history” (Churbanov, 1976a: XVII).


Birth Certificate Historical Materialism Political History Materialist Conception Interim Assessment 
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© Terrell Carver and Daniel Blank 2014

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  • Terrell Carver
  • Daniel Blank

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