The English 'Capital'
Although Karl Marx was living in London when he published the first volume of his commanding work Das Kapital in 1867, it appeared in German not in English. Indeed, it was another twenty years before the volume appeared in an English translation - by which time it had already long been available in Russian and French.
But some extracts from Das Kapital were published in English in the year of Marx's death - 1883. They appeared in a new and none too well known radical monthly To-Day, which was published by the Modern Press, an imprint later associated with the left-wing Social Democratic Federation. Ernest Belfort Bax was the editor of To-Day, but I'm not clear whether he was the founding editor.
The journal does not make clear who was responsible for the translation - though the second of the two extracts states that the translation was made not from the original German but from the French edition.
The English translation which appeared in 1887 was the work of Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling, the latter Marx's son-in-law, with Marx's great friend and collaborator Frederick Engels keeping a close eye on the edition. Aveling and his wife, Eleanor Marx, were both contributors to To-Day in its early years and they are likely to have had a role in the extracts which appeared in the journal's first two issues
The brief extracts published in To-Day are perhaps a footnote in Marx's publishing history. But they are nevertheless the first appearance in English of Marx's most enduring work of political economy, and so the first chance that an English-speaking audience had to get their heads round the fairly abstract arguments that Marx advanced.
On the left page we are offered tantalising glimpses of what appears to be a contemporary Gothic whodunnit. I supect that most people would find that more tempting to read than translated extracts from das Kapital.
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