Algernon Lee (essay date 1926)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lee, Algernon. “Essentials of Marx: General Introduction.” In The Essentials of Marx, pp. 1-24. New York: Vanguard Press, 1926.

[In the following excerpt, Lee discusses the political climate in Europe at the time Marx and Engels were solidifying their theories on economics and class, and maintains that they were influenced by French materialist philosophers, the German philosopher Hegel, and the British economists. Lee finds that the authors of the Communist Manifesto recognized three burgeoning movements—the struggle for political democracy, the trade union movement, and the appearance of underground revolutionary societies—all of which were filtered into their fluid...

(The entire section is 7762 words.)

Howard Selsam (essay date 1948)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Selsam, Howard. “The Ethics of the Communist Manifesto.” In A Centenary of Marxism, edited by Samuel Bernstein and the editors of Science and Society, pp. 22-32. New York: Science and Society, Inc., 1948.

[In the following essay, Selsam examines the ethical basis of The Communist Manifesto and the moral questions it raises. He also explores how the text passes judgment on capitalism, calling for its end, while at the same time eulogizing it as a good system that once worked.]

One hundred years is a nicely rounded period in terms of which to pass judgment on a doctrine or a document, to evaluate or re-evaluate it. How does it stand the...

(The entire section is 5187 words.)

Paul M. Sweezy and Leo Huberman (essay date 1949)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Sweezy, Paul M., and Leo Huberman. “The Communist Manifesto after 100 Years.” In The Communist Manifesto. Principles of Communism. “The Communist Manifesto” after 100 Years, edited by Paul M. Sweezy and Leo Huberman, pp. 87-113. New York: Modern Reader Paperbacks, 1968.

[In the following essay, originally published in 1949, Sweezy and Huberman provide an overview of the history of socialism and discuss the Communist Manifesto in terms of historical materialism, class struggle, the nature of capitalism, the inevitability of socialism, and the road to socialism.]



(The entire section is 8585 words.)

Francis B. Randall (essay date 1963)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Randall, Francis B. “Introduction: Marx the Romantic.” In The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, translated by Samuel Moore, edited by Joseph Katz, pp. 8-41. New York: Washington Square Press, 1964.

[In the following excerpt, originally written in 1963, Randall explores the Romantic influences on both Marx and The Communist Manifesto, with special focus on Marx's experience and a close reading of the first two chapters of the Manifesto.]

Early in 1848 there were no communist states in the world and no revolutionary governments of any sort. There was no Communist party in our sense and no revolutionary organizations or even trade...

(The entire section is 5717 words.)

Haig A. Bosmajian (essay date 1963-64)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Bosmajian, Haig A. “A Rhetorical Approach to the Communist Manifesto.” In Karl Marx: “The Communist Manifesto,” edited by Frederic L. Bender, pp. 189-99. New York: Peter Lang, 1988.

[In the following excerpt, originally published in 1963-64, Bosmajian looks at some of Marx's literary influences and provides an analysis of the rhetorical style of the Communist Manifesto.]

Late in February, 1848, an octavo pamphlet of thirty pages published by a German printer in London at 46 Liverpool Street, Bishopsgate, appeared for the first time with a title page which read, in part: “Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei. … Prolertarier aller Länder...

(The entire section is 4807 words.)

Harold J. Laski (essay date 1967)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Laski, Harold J. Introduction to The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, pp. 3-105. New York: Pantheon Books, 1967.

[In the following excerpt, Laski provides brief character studies of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and presents a section-by-section analysis of the Communist Manifesto. The critic acknowledges that the Manifesto is an immensely important document because it pulls from an enormous body of thought and writing to lay out a concise logical whole that goes beyond thought and philosophy to offer a revolutionary plan for the workers of the world.]


The Communist Manifesto was published...

(The entire section is 16417 words.)

S. S. Prawer (essay date 1976)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Prawer, S. S. “World Literature and Class Conflict.” In Karl Marx and World Literature, pp. 138-149. London: Oxford University Press, 1976.

[In the following excerpt, Prawer details the literary devices and references present in the Communist Manifesto, while also examining the origins and intentions of the work.]

National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures there arises a world literature.

(MEW [Werke] IV, 466)


‘The combination of scientific...

(The entire section is 4249 words.)

Rondel V. Davidson (essay date 1977)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Davidson, Rondel V. “Reform versus Revolution: Victor Considérant and the Communist Manifesto.” In Karl Marx: “The Communist Manifesto,” edited by Frederic L. Bender, pp. 93-104. New York: Peter Lang, 1988.

[In the following essay, originally published in 1977, Davidson examines the influence Victor-Prosper Considérant's Manifest de la démocratie pacifique (1843) had on Marx and Engels' philosophy and their subsequent writing of the Communist Manifesto. The critic considers arguments that the Communist Manifesto is a mere translation of Considérant's work, and demonstrates where the two works are similar and where they are fundamentally...

(The entire section is 5420 words.)

Donald Clark Hodges (essay date 1999)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Hodges, Donald Clark. “Conclusion: Assessing the Manifesto.” In The Literate Communist: 150 Years of “The Communist Manifesto,” pp. 185-98. New York: Peter Lang, 1999.

[In the following excerpt, Hodges looks at the Communist Manifesto's literary and religious tradition, and its importance to Russia in the late nineteenth century. He also follows its influence into the twentieth century as it affected the Russian revolution, the rise of Soviet power, and the subsequent fall of the Communist bloc.]

The Manifesto of Marx and Engels begins with the balance sheet of historical evolution at the threshold of the crucial...

(The entire section is 5986 words.)

Aijaz Ahmad (essay date 1999)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Ahmad, Aijaz. “The Communist Manifesto in Its Own Time, And in Ours.” In A World to Win: Essays on the “The Communist Manifesto,” edited by Prakash Karat, pp. 14-47. New Delhi: LeftWord Books, 1999.

[In the following essay, Ahmad looks at the Communist Manifesto as both Marx's first mature work and a transitional text in the development of his philosophy. The critic also examines the Manifesto's conception of the bourgeoisie and the Marxist perspective on the laws of history.]

It is said that the Bible and the Quran are the only two books that have been printed in more editions and disseminated more widely than The Communist...

(The entire section is 13154 words.)

Irfan Habib (essay date 1999)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Habib, Irfan. “The Reading of History in the Communist Manifesto.” In A World to Win: Essays on the “The Communist Manifesto,” edited by Prakash Karat, pp. 48-67. New Delhi: LeftWord Books, 1999.

[In the following essay, Habib considers the primary goal of the Communist Manifesto to have been the formulation of a concise text that contextualized history and took thought in a new direction by solidifying and then disseminating the ideas that would lead to revolution. However, the critic explains, the text and its theories evolved with time, and this evolution should be kept in mind by subsequent students of Socialism and The Communist Manifesto.]


(The entire section is 6465 words.)