karl marx: the romantic idealist

Karl Marx: the romantic idealist exhorting man to triumph over the things he manufactures…

…It was to this generation that Karl Marx, born in 1818, belonged. There is no cause for surprise that he became a revolutionary; it would almost have been surprising if he had not. What distinguished him from most of his contemporaries was that in Marx youthful fervor soon became transmuted into scientific rigor, without abating its revolutionary character. Marx’s revolutionary zeal thus acquired a staying power, while that f most of his contemporaries, vaguer, more hazily idealistic- faded with age and disillusionment. Nevertheles, Marx’s “scientific” socialism never altogether lost a visionary, apocalyptic aureole that occasionally gives a lurid glow to the gray pages of Capital and recalls the ardent years before the false dawn of 1848.

Dirck van Baburen...Prometheus wordt door Vulcanus geketend. Datum 1623...WIKI

Dirck van Baburen…Prometheus wordt door Vulcanus geketend.
Datum 1623…WIKI

In his personal tastes, too, Marx remained a man of his generation; he shared that passionate love of Shakespeare that struck the intellectual youth of France and Germany in the early nineteenth century with the force of a revelation; for him, too, Prometheus, the archetypal rebel, the titan who had defied Zeus, was potent symbol, as he was for Shelley, Goethe and Beethoven. Marx’s taste in novels, again, was not chiefly for realistic novels of industrial England or Flaubert’s brutal dissection of the French bourgeoisie, but for Sir Walter Scott and Alexandre Dumas the elder.

Karl Marx, economist and visionary, German scholar and international revolutionary, contemptuous as he was of revolutionary phrasemakers and conspirational play-acting, was yet himself a powerful rhetorician and prophet of doom and regeneration, a romantic realist, a man of many faces. ( to be continued)…

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