MARX, Karl (1818-1883). Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Oekonomie. Volume 1. Hamburg: Otto Meissner, 1867.
First edition, presented by Marx to his cousin, of his most important work on economics. In the early 1840s, while in Paris, Marx had been consumed with an intensive study of political economy, particularly in relation to the work of Adam Smith and David Ricardo, and this interest was to remain with him for the rest of his life. However, after his expulsion from Paris in 1845, he temporarily set aside these concerns, and worked with Friedrich Engels, a partnership that would culminate in their publication of The Communist Manifesto in 1848. With the revolutions in Europe of that year, Marx was forced to move from his place of exile, Brussels, back to Paris, then to Cologne, before finally arriving in London in 1850. During the 1850s, Marx withdrew from active political participation, his principal earnings coming as European correspondent for the New-York Daily Tribune. This allowed him more time to return to the subject of political economy, but he continually amassed new research material, and his manuscript for Das Kapital was endlessly delayed.
By the end of 1865, Marx had completed the massive draft for the book, but it had been an immense struggle. The beginning of the 1860s were years of hardship for Marx; he left the Tribune in 1861 when the editor departed and the paper changed its stance on the American Civil War. However, he found comfort and support from his maternal family, most notably his uncle by marriage, Lion Philips (1794-1866), living in Zaltbommel, Netherlands, and visited there several times. He seems to have enjoyed a close relationship with his first cousin, Nanette Philips (1837-1885), and a Philips family typescript of a 'consequences-type' parlour game is enclosed with the present lot in which Marx states his 'favorite occupation... Glancing at Netjen.' This diminutive of Nanette is the name used by Marx to present this copy of his magnus opus, and suggests an intimate closeness between the cousins. In the safe comfort of Zaltbommel, halfway between exile in London and his homeland of the Rhine, perhaps Marx could feel secure enough to present his landmark work of economic and political theory without threat.
This bible of Marxist theory was to inspire anti-capitalist movements in Russia and China, and workers’ revolutions across the globe. Only this first volume was published in Marx's lifetime; his friend and supporter Friedrich Engels edited and published volume 2 in 1885 and volume 3 in 1894. PMM 359; Rubel 633.
Octavo (207 x 130mm). (Inscription trimmed with loss of one letter, very occasional faint insignificant spotting.) Modern half calf by Brockman to style, preserving pale pink endpapers of early previous binding. Provenance: authorial presentation inscription 'To My dear cousin Netjen, [L]ond[on] 18 Sept. 1867' on verso of title, to: – Nanette Philips (1837-1885, first cousin of Marx) – Hendrik Roodhuyzen Jr (1833-1910, husband of Nanette, ownership inscription on pale pink endpaper) – thence by descent to the present owner.