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WATCH: Michael Heinrich on the life of Marx and the birth of modern society

This spring, Michael Heinrich was kind enough to join Monthly Review for the first time, live and in person. In an event co-hosted by the Marxist Education Project, he presented his biography-in-progress of Karl Marx, in New York City.

In the first volume published in English, Karl Marx and the Birth of Modern Society, which gained glowing reviews from Marxist scholars the world over, Heinrich deals extensively with Marx’s youth and his studies in Bonn and Berlin. He also examines the function of poetry in Marx’s intellectual development and his first encounter with Hegelian philosophy and the so-called “young Hegelians.” The volume begins a multidimensional look at Karl Marx and aims to include what most biographies have reduced to mere background: the contemporary conflicts, struggles, and disputes that engaged Marx at the time of his writings, alongside his complex relationships with a varied assortment of friends and opponents.

“A masterful work by one of the leading Marx scholars of his generation. Simply wonderful—analytical depth, critical knowledge, clarity of comprehension and presentation, grasp of theoretical and historical contexts, combine to create a most insightful Marx biography that will be an indispensable and lasting resource that scholars and researchers, activists and critics alike, should—and will—return to frequently.”

Werner Bonefeld, University of York, UK; author, Critical Theory and the Critique of Political Economy

“Marx has found his perfect biographer…. Heinrich’s attitude is the same as that of Marx: Doubt everything, even Marx himself. Only through this critical perspective Marx’s ambiguities and contradictions can be revealed, and his greatness and legacy be reclaimed”

Riccardo Bellofiore, University of Bergamo, Italy; author, In Marx’s Laboratory: Critical Interpretations of the Grundrisse

Michael Heinrich teaches economics in Berlin and is managing editor of PROKLA: Journal for Critical Social Science. He is the author of The Science of Value: Marx’s Critique of Political Economy between Scientific Revolution and Classical Tradition, and editor, with Werner Bonefeld, of Capital and Critique: After the “New Reading” of Marx.


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