First edition in English. 8vo. Two volumes. Original publisher's brown cloth with titles in gilt to the spines. A fine, unread copy with pages uncut after p.24 in Vol. 1 and uncut throughout in Vol. 2. The bindings firm and bright with just a little rubbing to the extremities. The contents with a previous owner's ink name to the half-titles, a one-inch chip to the half-title of Vol. 1 (mis-cut and retained), and a minor moisture mark to the top edge, extending slightly to the fore-edge and to the top margin of the first and last few pages, are otherwise in excellent order and clean throughout. Housed in a bespoke quarter morocco solander case. Rare in such remarkably fine original condition.
The first appearance of Marx's seminal work in materialist philosophy, economics and politics in the language of the country in which it was written. One of only 300 copies issued in Britain, with the remaining 200 copies of the edition sold in America. "Marx himself modestly described Das Kapital as a continuation of his Zur Kritik de politischen Oekonomie, 1859. It was in fact the summation of his quarter of a century's economic studies, mostly in the Reading Room of the British Museum. The Athenaeum reviewer of the first English translation (1887) later wrote: 'Under the guise of a critical analysis of capital, Karl Marx's work is principally a polemic against capitalists and the capitalist mode of production, and it is this polemical tone which is its chief charm'. The historical-polemical passages, with their formidable documentation from British official sources, have remained memorable; and, as Marx (a chronic furunculosis victim) wrote to Engels while the volume was still in the press, 'I hope the bourgeoisie will remember my carbuncles all the rest of their lives'." (Printing and the Mind of Man). The translation into English was carried out under the editorship of Friedrich Engels by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling. Aveling was married to Marx's youngest daughter Eleanor, who in reality did a great deal of the work, as is credited in Engels' preface. In a letter of 10th March 1887 written to another of Marx's daughters, Laura Lafargue, Engels notes that the first English edition of Capital, comprising of 500 copies, had almost sold through, and that "nearly half the edition, as far as I can calculate, has gone to America". The royalty statement Engels received at the end of 1887 from Sonnenschein confirms this, with 200 copies marked as sold in America, and of the 300 remaining copies issued in England 224 had sold, with the remainder given gratis to the press, the Marx family and Engels. As one of his biographers writes, "The history of the twentieth century is Marx's legacy. Stalin, Mao, Che, Castro - the icons and monsters of the modern age have all presented themselves as his heirs. Whether he would recognise them as such is quite another matter. Nevertheless, within one hundred years of his death half the world's population was ruled by governments that professed Marxism to be their guiding faith. His ideas have transformed the study of economics, history, geography, sociology and literature. Not since Jesus Christ has an obscure pauper inspired such global devotion, nor been so calamitously misinterpreted" (Francis Wheen, Karl Marx, 1999). A truly exceptional set of one of the most influential works of the modern age. (PMM, 339).
Stock code: 18268