Marx Engels collected works

jbm7 at jbm7 at
Tue Nov 9 02:44:59 MST 1999

This is from an article by Kevin Anderson first published in “News and
Letters” vol. 42: (Jan-Feb 1997) republished in full with other articles
on a similar theme in Critique 30-31 Posdtefd by mistake with wrong
headline. Hope this helps the work ofd the MEGA and hope myself to buy a
few volumes funds permitting
Jim Monaghan

The Second MEGA

In 1975, a second MEGA (hereafter MEGA2) was begun from Moscow and East
Berlin. In pure Stalinist style, the editors made no reference to the
pioneering work of Riazanov, their illustrious martyred predecessor. As
with MECW and other similar editions, the prefaces and notes had a
dogmatic character, although the actual editing of Marx’s texts was quite

After the collapse of Communism in 1989-91, MEGA2’s funding disappeared.
But today, after a struggle, it is receiving new funding from

footnote 4 Rubel and Braeke-Desrousseaux, ‘L’Occident doit a Marx eta
Engels une edition monumentale de leurs oeuvres.’ La Revue socialiste, No.
59. July I 952  pp 13-114.
Le  Monde  des Livres. Sept. 29. 1995. p. viii.

German and Dutch foundations. While the funding is much more limited than
before 1989, and the edition has been slightly scaled back, editorial
control has now passed to a varied group of mainly Western Marx scholars

MEGA2 includes four series, the fourth one is Marx’s and Engels’ excerpt

Series I. Works, Articles and Drafts. Of 32 volumes now planned, 15 have
appeared. Especially notable in this series is Vol. 1/2, which includes
Marx’s 1844 Humanist Essays. Here, for the first time, two versions of
these manuscripts are published: the one as established by MEGAI with
which we are familiar, and a new version, rougher in form but closer to
the original. Interestingly, in the first 10 pages of the new version,
Marx on the same pages is writing three essays at once, in separate
vertical columns. Later on, we can see that what we know today as the
“Critique of the Hegelian Dialectic” was composed in at least two parts,
with the part on Feuerbach separated from the text in which Marx extols
“the dialectic of negativity as the moving and creating principle” of
Hegel’s Phenomenologv (p. 292).

Series 11. Marx’s Major Economic Writings. Of 15 volumes now planned, 10
have been published. What has already been published includes all the
editions of Vol. 1 of Capital which either Marx or Engels prepared for
publication. Especially important here is Vol. 11/10, a reprint of Engels’
1890 fourth German edition, but with an important addition: an appendix
which gathers together 60 pages of text, much of it very significant, from
Marx’s 1872-75 French edition of Vol. 1. This material was not included by
Engels in Vol. 1, and has yet

For a good summary of the present state of MEGA2, see Jacques Grand jonc
and Juergen Rojahn.
Aus der MEGA- Arbeit. Der rervidierte P/an der Marx-Enge/s-Gesamtausgabe,’
MEGA- Studien No. 2 (1995). pp. (P-89 MEGA-Stttdjen (do JISG. Cruquiusweg
31. 1019 AT
Amsterdam, established in 1994. is an international multi-lingual journal
of discussion  and debate
on the history and future of MEGA. Another forum for debate and
information on MEGA is the
(yearly Beitrage  fuer Marx-Enge/s- Forscltung (c/o Rolf Hecker. Ribbecker
Str.3, 10315 Berlin).

to appear in standard German or English editions of Vol.1(footnote 7)

Series III. Correspondence. Of 35 volumes now planned, 8 volumes covering
years through 1857 have been published. Since MEGA2 includes letters to
Marx, there are some interesting items, one of which bears on the epigraph
from Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound with which Marx began his 1841 doctoral
dissertation on Epicurus and Democritus.:"Better to be a servant of this
rock Than to be a faithful boy of father Zeus” (MECW I, p. 31). Having
apparently read the dissertation, Marx’s friend the Left Hegelian Bruno
Bauer, who was already a university lecturer, wrote advising him: “You
must under no circumstances include those lines from Aeschylus in your
dissertation, and above all nothing which goes beyond the bounds of
philosophical development” (letter of April 12, 1841). Bauer was evidently
worried that Marx would never get a university position if he included
those now famous lines on Prometheus. Unfortunately Marx’s response has
not been preserved, but those lines were, as we know, kept in the thesis.

Series IV. Excerpt Notebooks. Of 32 volumes now planned, 7 have been
published. Here are the notebooks which have never appeared in print.
Although Marx’s Notes on Bakunin’s “Statehood and Anarchy”, and the Notes
on Adolph Wagner are in MECW, and the Ethnological Notebooks, the Notes on
Indian History, 664-1858, and the Mathematical Manuscripts have been
published separately, many new discoveries await us here.

While the actual contents of the new material in Series IV can today be
studied in the archives only by those who can overcome the obstacle of
Marx’s very difficult handwriting, a look at the topics of the excerpt
notebooks, most of which will hopefully be published in the coming years,

For a discussion of Vol. 11]/10, see my “On the Relevance of Marx’s
Capital: Why Is the Full Text as He Wrote It Unavailable?’. News &
Letters, October 1992.

reveals the following: (1) notes in 1853 and 1880-81 on Java, (2) 1852
notes on the history of women and gender relations, (3) many notes from
the 1870s and 1880s on agriculture in Russia plus some on prairie farming
in the U.S., (4) notes on Ireland from the 1860s, (5) notes on agriculture
in Roman and Carolingian times, (6) a massive chronology of world history.
Once these materials are published in the original Language (Marx’s later
notebooks are often a combination of English and German), they can be
translated into English and other languages in more accessible editions.

Vol. IV/6 containing Marx’s 900-page 1846-47 notebooks on the world-wide
history of agriculture and trade from the earliest times to the present
has already been published, and we will reportedly also soon see in print
Vol. IV/3 with his notebooks from 1844.

For the first time since the l920s, a major edition of Marx’s work is
being published under auspices other than those of Stalinism. Raya
Dunayevskaya once referred to the “incredible time, energy, and vigilance”
which the Russian state-capitalist regime expended to “imprison Marx
within the bounds” of its ideology.8 That period is now over, although as
Marx wrote in the Eighteenth Brumaire, “the tradition of all the dead
generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living” (MECW 11,
p. 103).

Dunayevskaya, Marxism and Freedom. From 1 776 until Today (Bookman, 1958),
p. 63.

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