Page:Karl Marx the man and his message.pdf/7

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


His Life and Message.


At length the English-speaking world is in possession of a life of Karl Marx worthy of the man. Mr. John Spargo has placed not only the Socialist movement, but also the world of letters, under a debt of gratitude to him by his masterly and scholarly work.[1] The many-sidedness of Marx’s character, the almost world-wide range of his activities, and the efforts of his opponents to belittle, obscure, and misrepresent the man and his work, all combined to make the writing of his life a task of no ordinary magnitude. Mr. Spargo, however, brought to the work not only the patient, well-trained mind of the student, but also the loving devotion of the disciple. One misses some of the lighter touches of Marx’s character with which Liebknecht has made us familiar, and there is occasionally a sense of repetition and a suspicion of journalese in the style, but the final and abiding impression with which one lays down the book is that it has added a fresh triumph to the literature of the Socialist movement, and created a biography, not for this age only, but for all time. The numerous illustrations, mostly portraits, add considerably to the interest of the book. Mr. Huebsch, the publisher, has spared no pains to provide materials and style worthy of the subject matter.

Karl Marx was the second son of his parents, both Jews, and was born at Trier, in the province of the Rhine, on May 5, 1818. The family name had originally been Mordechai, but the father, probably after his conversion to Christianity, shortened it to Marx. Karl was the inheritor by descent of a long line of culture and learning, his forbears, on both sides, having been for generations Rabbis of the Temple of Israel. In this connection Mr. Spargo takes occasion to dispel a fable which has hitherto not only passed as unchallenged fact, but has even been credited as having been the starting point from which Marx deduced his great

  1. “Karl Marx: His Life and Work,” bys John Spargo. Authorised English edition, with numerous portraits, facsimile, &c. Royal 8vo.; price, 8s. 6d.–National Labour Press, Ltd., 30, Blackfriars Street, Manchester.