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ISBN: 978-1-5095-1817-3
204 pages
January 2018, Polity
Marx (1509518177) cover image


Karl Marx was the first theorist of a truly global capitalism, and remains perhaps its most trenchant critic. This clear and innovative book, from one of the leading contemporary experts on Marx's thought, gives us a fresh overview of his ideas by framing them within concepts that remain topical and alive today, from class struggle and progress to democracy and exploitation. 

Taking Marx's work in his pamphleteering, journalism, speeches, correspondence and published books as central to a renewed understanding of the man and his politics, both his life experience and our contemporary political engagements are brought vividly to life. It shows us the many ways that a 19th century thinker has been made into the 'Marx' we know today, beginning with his own self-presentations at crucial moments in his career before moving on to the successive different 'Marxes' that were later constructed: an icon of communist revolution, a demonic figure in the Cold War, a 'humanist' philosopher, and a spectre haunting Occupy Wall Street. 

Carver's accessible and lively engagement with all of these 'Marxes' unpacks the historical, intellectual and political difficulties that make him sometimes difficult to read and understand, while also highlighting the distinct areas where his lively and challenging writings speak very directly to the 21st century world. It will be essential reading for students and scholars throughout the social sciences, and anyone interested in the contemporary legacy of his revolutionary ideas.
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Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Timeline
  • Introduction: Another Marx
  • Chapter One: Making Marx ‘Marx’
  • Chapter Two: Class Struggle and Class Compromise
  • Chapter Three: History and Progress
  • Chapter Four: Democracy and Communism/Socialism
  • Chapter Five: Capitalism and Revolution
  • Chapter Six: Exploitation and Alienation
  • Afterword
  • A Note on Complete Works and Canon-formation
  • Bibliography
  • Endnotes
  • Index
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Author Information

Terrell Carver is Professor of Political Theory at the University of Bristol.
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"Terrell Carver has done something new, surprising, and very rewarding. By concentrating on Marx the political activist, rather than Marx the grand figure of intellectual history, Carver allows us to understand the many ways in which Marx's ideas resonate through contemporary political debates. Marx emerges as a "punchy writer, formidable thinker and economics-minded gadfly."
Jonathan Wolff, University College London

"Full of insight and enthusiasm, Terrell Carver's provocative new book gives us a welcome portrait of Marx as very much our contemporary - a political activist grappling with issues that still concern us, in ways we can still learn from."
David Leopold, University of Oxford
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