THREE ESSAYS ON MARXISM by Karl Korsch

THREE ESSAYS ON MARXISM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In the '20's, along with Georg Lukacs, Korsch was responsible for restoring to Marxist exegetics a sense of Marx's relationship to Hegel. Paul Breines gives an introductory biographical sketch of Korsch's expulsion from the German Communist Party in 1926 and his exile from Germany after 1933. In these three essays there is little about Hegel vis-a-vis Marx, except for a cutting indictment of ""orthodox"" Marxism's ""relapse"" into the ""abstract metaphysics"" abhorred by both Marx and Hegel. The first piece, ""Leading Principles of Marxism"" (1937), contrasts Marxism with bourgeois sociology; the third, ""Why I Am A Marxist"" (1935), offers sensible and penetrating comments on Marxist philosophy and economics and various misrepresentations of them. The second piece is a 1932 introduction to Korsch's edition of Kapital. Its inclusion makes the book especially important. It includes advice about how to read the volumes -- not, as Marx recommended to a friend's wife, by taking the easiest, most descriptive parts first, but following what Korsch takes to be the basic conceptual development of Marx's approach, which requires a lot of skipping around. He adds, ""'All science,' said Marx, 'would be superfluous if the outward appearance of things coincided exactly with their essence.' The reader will have to get used to this basic principle of Marxian science."" Especially after Irving Fetscher's emphasis on Korsch in Karl Marx and Marxism (1971), this will be eagerly sought by students of the subject.

Pub Date: Jan. 16th, 1972
Publisher: Monthly Review Press