The Holy Family (book)  

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Eugène Sue's The Mysteries of Paris inspired Karl Marx's only text concerning literature. It was published as part of the polemical The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Criticism (1845). Marx’s views of the book were not favourable - "it is to be noted incidentally that Eugène Sue motivates the career of the Countess just as stupidly as that of most of his characters". Marx's negative views of the Mysteries of Paris are a poignant example of cultural elitism, because in reality the publication of the Mysteries helped create a climate which allowed the 1848 revolution to occur. [JWG, May 2006]

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Holy Family is a book written by Marx & Engels in November 1844. The book is a critique on the Young Hegelians and their trend of thought which was very popular in academic circles at the time. The title was a suggestion by the publisher and is meant as a sarcastic reference to the Bauer Brothers and their supporters. The book created a controversy with much of the press and caused Bruno Bauer to attempt to refute the book in an article which was published in Wigand's Vierteljahrsschrift in 1845. Bauer claimed that Marx and Engels misunderstood what he was trying to say. Marx later replied to his response with his own article that was published in the journal Gesellschaftsspiegel in January 1846. Marx also discussed the argument in chapter 2 of The German Ideology.


During Engels' short stay in Paris (1844), Marx suggested that two of them should write a critique of the rage of their day, the Young Hegelians. In the doing was born the first joint writing project between the two men; and thus the beginning of a friendship that would forever change the world.

After conversing, they began drawing up plans for a book about the Young Hegelian trend of thought very popular in academic circles. Agreeing to co-author the Foreword, they divided up the other sections. Engels finished his assigned chapters before leaving Paris. Marx had the larger share of work, and he completed it by the end of November 1844. (Marx would draw from his Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, on which he'd been working the spring and summer of 1844.)

The foremost title line — "The Holy Family" — was added at the suggestion of the book publisher Lowenthal. It's a sarcastic reference to the Bauer brothers and their supporters.

The book made something of a splash in the newspapers. One paper noted, that it expressed socialist views since it criticised the "inadequacy of any half-measures directed at eliminating the social ailments of our time." The conservative press immediately recognized the radical elements inherent in its many arguments. One paper wrote that, in The Holy Family, "every line preaches revolt... against the state, the church, the family, legality, religion and property." It also noted that "prominence is given to the most radical and the most open communism, and this is all the more dangerous as Mr. Marx cannot be denied either extremely broad knowledge or the ability to make use of the polemical arsenal of Hegel's logic, what is customarily called 'iron logic.'"


Lenin would later claim this work laid the foundations for what would develop into a scientific revolutionary materialist socialism.

Full text[1]

Workers of All Countries, Unite!



The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Criticism

Against Bruno Bauer, and Company 1


Progress Publishers


Translated from the German by RICHARD DIXON and CLEMENS DUTT

K. MapKC h «1>. SHrejibc



First printing 1956 Second revised edition 1975 Third printing 1980

© Translation into English. Progress Publishers 1975 Printed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics







From the Institute of Marxism-Leninism. 9

Foreword. 12

Chapter I. “Critical Criticism in the Form of a Master-Book¬ binder”, or Critical Criticism as Herr Reichardt (by Engels) 11

Chapter II. “Critical Criticism” as a “Mill-Owner”, or Critical

Criticism as Herr Jules Faucher (by Engels) . 17

Chapter III. “The Thoroughness of Critical Criticism”, or

Critical Criticism as Herr J. (Jungnitz?) (by Engels ) . . 23

Chapter IV. “Critical Criticism” as the Tranquillity of Knowl¬ edge, or “Critical Criticism” as Herr Edgar.25

1) Flora Tristan’s Union Ouvriire (by Engels) .25

2) Beraud on Prostitutes (by Engels) .26

3) Love (by Marx) .27

4) Proudhon (by Marx) .30

Characterising Translation No. 1.31

Critical Comment No. 1.40

Critical Comment No. 2.44

Characterising Translation No. 2.48

Critical Comment No. 3.49

Characterising Translation No. 3.54

Critical Comment No. 4.61

Characterising Translation No. 4.63

Critical Comment No. 5.65

Chapter V. “Critical Criticism” as a Mystery-Monger, or “Crit¬ ical Criticism” as Herr Szeliga (by Marx) .69



1) “The Mystery of Degeneracy in Civilisation” and “The

Mystery of Rightlessness in the State”.70

2) The Mystery of Speculative Construction.72

3) “The Mystery of Educated Society”.77

4) “The Mystery of Probity and Piety”.87

5) “Mystery, a Mockery”.90

6) Turtle-Dove (Rigolette).94

7) The World System of the Mysteries of Paris .96

Chapter VI. Absolute Critical Criticism, or Critical Criticism

as Herr Bruno.98

1) Absolute Criticism’s First Campaign (by Marx) ... 98

a) “Spirit” and “Mass”.98

b) The Jewish Question No. 1. The Setting of the


c) Hinrichs No. 1. Mysterious Hints on Politics, Socialism

and Philosophy.113

“ / * --- a uvwiiu .1 1J

a) Hinrichs No. 2. “Criticism” and “Feuerbach”. Con¬ demnation of Philosophy (by Engels) .115

b) The Jewish Question No. 2. Critical Discoveries on Socialism, Jurisprudence and Politics (Nationality)

(by Marx ).118

3) Absolute Criticism’s Third Campaign (by Marx) . . . 123

a) Absolute Criticism’s Self-Apology. Its “Political” Past 123

b) The Jewish Question No. 3.132

c) Critical Battle against the French Revolution . . . 147

d) Critical Battle against French Materialism .... 154

e) Final Defeat of Socialism.166

f) The Speculative Cycle of Absolute Criticism and the

Philosophy of Self-Consciousness.169

Chapter VII. Critical Criticism’s Correspondence.179

1) The Critical Mass (by Marx) .179

2) The “Un-Critical Mass” and “Critical Criticism” .... 184

a) The “Obdurate Mass” and the “Unsatisfied Mass”

(by Marx) .184

b) The “Soft-Hearted” Mass “Pining for Redemption”

(by Engels) .188

c) Grace Bestowed on the Mass (by Marx) .... 191

3) The Un-Critically Critical Mass, or “Criticism” and the

“Berlin Couleur” (by Marx) .192

Chapter VIII. The Earthly Course and Transfiguration of “Critical Criticism”, or “Critical Criticism” as Rudolph, Prince

of Geroldstein (by Marx) .201


1) Critical Transformation of a Butcher into a Dog, or

Chourineur.■ ■

2) Revelation of the Mystery of Critical Religion, or Fleur

de Marie.

a) The Speculative “Marguerite”.

b) Fleur de Marie.

3) Revelation of the Mysteries of Law.

a) The Maitre d’ecole, or the New Penal Theory. The

Mystery of Solitary Confinement Revealed. Medical Mysteries.

b) Reward and Punishment. Double Justice (with a

Table).. • • •

c) Abolition of Degeneracy Within Civilisation and of

Rightlessness in the State.

4) The Revealed Mystery of the “Standpoint”.

5) Revelation of the Mystery of the Utilisation of Human

Impulses, or Clemence d’Harville.

6) Revelation of the Mystery of the Emancipation of Women,

or Louise Morel.

7) Revelation of Political Economic Mysteries..

a) Theoretical Revelation of Political Economic Mysteries

b) “The Bank for the Poor”.

c) Model Farm at Bouqueval .........

8) Rudolph, “the Revealed Mystery of All Mysteries” . . .

Chapter IX. The Critical Last Judgment [by Marx) . . .

Historical Epilogue.

Notes .

Name Index .






















The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Criticism. Against Bruno Bauer and Co. is the first joint work of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. At the end of August 1844 Marx and Engels met in Paris and their meeting was the beginning of their joint creative work in all fields of theoretical and practical revolution¬ ary activity. By this time Marx and Engels had completed the transition from idealism to materialism and from revolutionary democratism to communism. The polemic The Holy Family was written in Paris in autumn 1844. It reflects the progress in the formation of Marx’s and Engels’ revolutionary materialistic world outlook.

In The Holy Family Marx and Engels give a devastating criticism of the subjectivist views of the Young Hegelians from the position of militant materialists. They also criticise Hegel’s own idealistic philosophy: giving credit for the rational element in his dialectics, they criticise the mystic side of it.

The Holy Family formulates a number of fundamental the¬ ses of dialectical and historical materialism. In it Marx already approaches the basic idea of historical materialism—the decisive role of the mode of production in the development of society. Refuting the idealistic views of history which had dominated up to that time, Marx and Engels prove that of themselves pro¬ gressive ideas can lead society only beyond the ideas of the old system and that “in order to carry out ideas men are needed who can exert practical force”. (See p. 148 of the present edi-


tion.) The proposition put forward in the book that the mass, the people, is the real maker of the history of mankind is of paramount importance. Marx and Engels show that the wider and the more profound a change taking place in society is, the more numerous the mass effecting that change will be. Lenin especially stressed the importance of this thought and described it as one of the most profound and most important theses of historical materialism.

The Holy Family contains the almost mature view of the historic role of the proletariat as the class which, by virtue of its position in capitalism, “can and must free itself” and at the same time abolish all the inhuman conditions of life of bour¬ geois society, for “not in vain does” the proletariat “go through the stern but steeling school of labour. It is not a question of what this or that proletarian, or even the whole proletariat, at the moment regards as its aim. It is a question of what the pro¬ letariat is, and what, in accordance with this being, it will his¬ torically be compelled to do.” (P. 47.)

A section of great importance is “Critical Battle against French Materialism” in which Marx, briefly outlining the devel¬ opment of materialism in West European philosophy, shows that communism is the logical conclusion of materialistic phi¬ losophy.

The Holy Family was written largely under the influence of the materialistic views of Ludwig Feuerbach, who was respon¬ sible to a great extent for Marx’s and Engels’ transition from idealism to materialism; the work also contains elements of the criticism of Feuerbach’s metaphysical and contemplative mate¬ rialism given by Marx in spring 1845 in his Theses on Feuerbach. Engels later defined the place of The Holy Family in the history of Marxism when he wrote: “The cult of abstract men, which formed the kernel of Feuerbach’s new religion, had to be re¬ placed by the science of real men and of their historical devel¬ opment. This further development of Feuerbach’s standpoint beyond Feuerbach was inaugurated by Marx in 1845 in The Holy Family.” (F. Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy.)


The Holy Family formulates some of the basic principles of Marxist political economy. In contrast to the Utopian Socialists Marx bases the objective inevitability of the victory of commun¬ ism on the fact that private property in its economic motion drives itself towards its downfall.

The Holy Family dates from a period when the process of the formation of Marxism was not yet completed. This is reflected in the terminology used by Marx and Engels. Marxist scientific terminology was gradually elaborated and defined by Marx and Engels as the formation and development of their teaching progressed.


Real humanism has no more dangerous enemy in Germany than spiritualism or speculative idealism, which substitutes “self- consciousness” or the “spirit” for the real individual man and with the evangelist teaches: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.” Needless to say, this incorporeal spirit is spiritual only in its imagination. What we are combating in Bauer's criticism is precisely speculation reproducing itself as a caricature. We see in it the most complete expression of the Christian-Germanic principle, which makes its last effort by transforming “criticism” itself into a transcendent power.

Our exposition deals first and foremost with Bruno Bauer’s Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung —the first eight numbers are here before us—because in it Bauer’s criticism, and with it the non¬ sense of German speculation in general, has reached its peak. The more completely Critical Cridcism (the criticism of the Literatur-Zeitung) distorts reality into an obvious comedy through philosophy, the more instructive it is.—For examples see Faucher and Szeliga. —The Literatur-Zeitung offers material by which even the broad public can be enlightened on the illusions of speculative philosophy. That is the aim of our book.

Our exposition is naturally determined by its subject. Cridcal Cridcism is in all respects below the level already attained by German theoretical development. The nature of our subject therefore justifies our refraining here from further discussion of that development itself.


Critical Criticism makes it necessary rather to assert, in con¬ trast to it, the already achieved results as such.

We therefore give this polemic as a preliminary to the inde¬ pendent works in which we—each of us for himself, of course— shall present our positive view and thereby our positive attitude to the more recent philosophical and social doctrines.

Paris, September 1844

Engels, Marx





Critical Criticism, however superior to the mass it deems itself, nevertheless has boundless pity for the mass. And Criticism so loved the mass that it sent its only begotten son, that all who believe in him may not be lost, but may have Critical life. Criticism was made mass and dwells amongst us and we behold its glory, the glory of the only begotten son of the father. In other words, Criticism becomes socialistic and speaks of “works on pauperism”. 2 It does not regard it as a crime to be equal to God but alienates itself and takes the form of a master-bookbind¬ er and humiliates itself to the extent of nonsense—indeed even to Critical nonsense in foreign languages. It, whose heavenly vir¬ ginal purity shrinks from contact with the sinful leprous mass, over¬ comes itself to the extent of taking notice of “ Bodz ” a and “all original writers on pauperism” and “has for years been following this evil of the present time step by step”; it scorns writing tor experts, it writes for the general public, banning all outlandish expressions, all “Latin intricacies, all professional jargon”. It bans all that from the works of others, for it would be too much to expect Criticism itself to submit to “this administrative re¬ gulation”. And yet it does do so partly, renouncing with admi¬ rable ease, if not the words themselves, at least their content. And who will reproach it for using “the huge heap of unintelli¬ gible foreign words” when it repeatedly proves that it does not understand those words itself? Here are a few samples 3 :

a Reichardt’s distortion of Charles Dickens’ pseudonym: Boz,— Ed.



“That is why the institutions of mendicancy inspire them with horror.”

“A doctrine of responsibility in which every motion of human thought becomes an image of Lot’s wife."

“On the keystone of this really profound edifice of art.”

“This is the main content of Stein’s political testament, which the great statesman handed in even before retiring from the active service of the government and from all its transactions."

“This people had not yet any dimensions at that time for such extensive freedom.”

“By palavering with fair assurance at the end of his publicistic work that only confidence was still lacking.”

“To the manly state-elevating understanding, rising above routine and pusillanimous fear, reared on history and nurtured with a live perception of foreign public state system.”

“The education of general national welfare.”

“Freedom lay dead in the breast of the Prussian national mission under the control of the authorities.”

“ Popular-organic publicism.”

“The people to whom even Herr Bruggemann delivers the baptis¬ mal certificate of its adulthood .”

“A rather glaring contradiction to the other certitudes which are expressed in the work on the professional capacities of the people.”

“Wretched self-interest quickly dispels all the chimeras of the national will."

“Passion for great gains, etc., was the spirit that pervaded the whole of the Restoration period and which, with a fair quantity of in¬ difference, adhered to the new age.”

“The obscure ideal of political significance to be found in the Prussian countrymanship nationality rests on the memory of a great history.”

“The antipathy disappeared and turned into a completely exalted condition.”

“In this wonderful transition each one in his own way still put forward in prospect his own special wish."

“A catechism with unctuous Solomon-like language the words of which rise gently like a dove—chirp! chirp!—to the regions of pathos and thunder-like aspects.”

“All the dilettantism of thirty-five years of neglect.”

“The too sharp thundering at the citizens by one of their former town authorities could have been suffered with the calmness of mind characteristic of our representatives if Benda’s view of the Town Charter of 1808 had not laboured under a Mussulman conceptual afflic¬ tion with regard to the essence and the application of the Town Charter.”


In Herr Reichardt, the audacity of style always corresponds to the audacity of the thought. He makes transitions like the following:

“Herr Briiggemann .. . 1843 . . . state theory . . . every upright man . . . the great modesty of our Socialists . .. natural marvels ... demands to be made on Germany . .. supernatural marvels . .. Ab¬ raham . . . Philadelphia . .. manna ... baker . . . but since we are speaking of marvels, Napoleon brought,” etc.

After these samples it is no wonder that Critical Criticism gives us a further “explanation” of a sentence which it itself describes as expressed in “popular language”, for it “arms its eyes with organic power to penetrate chaos”. And here it must be said that then even “popular language” cannot remain unin¬ telligible to Cridcal Criticism. It is aware that the way of the writer must necessarily be a crooked one if the individual who sets out on it is not strong enough to make it straight; and therefore it naturally ascribes “mathematical operations” to the author.

It is self-evident—and history, which proves everything which is self-evident, also proves this—that Criticism does not become mass in order to remain mass, but in order to redeem the mass from its mass-like mass nature, that is, to raise the popular lan¬ guage of the mass to the critical language of Critical Criticism. It is the lowest grade of degradation for Criticism to learn the popular language of the mass and transfigure that vulgar jargon into the high-flown intricacy of the dialectics of Critical Criticism.





After rendering most substantial services to self-conscious¬ ness by humiliating itself to the extent of nonsense in foreign languages, and thereby at the same time freeing the world from pauperism, Criticism still further humiliates itself to the extent of nonsense in practice and history. It masters “English questions of the day” and gives us a genuinely critical outline of the history of English industry.

Criticism, which is self-sufficient, and complete and perfect in itself, naturally cannot recognise history as it really took place, for that would mean recognising the base Mass in all its mass¬ like mass nature, whereas the problem is precisely to redeem the mass from its mass nature. History is therefore freed from its Mass nature, and Criticism, which has a free attitude to its object, calls to history: “You ought to have happened in such and such a way!” All the laws of Criticism have retrospective force: prior to the decrees of Cridcism, history behaved quite differently from how it did after them. Hence mass-type history, so-called real history, deviates considerably from Critical history, as it takes place in Heft VII of the Literatur-Zeitung from page 4 onwards.

In mass-type history there were no factory towns before there were factories', but in Critical history, in which, as already in Hegel, the son begets his father, Manchester, Bolton and Preston were flourishing factory towns before factories were even thought of. In real history the cotton industry was founded mainly on Hargreaves’ jenny and Arkwright’s throstle, Cromp-



ton’s mule being only an improvement of the spinning jenny according to the new principle discovered by Arkwright. But Critical history knows how to make distinctions: it scorns the one-sidedness of the jenny and the throstle, and gives the crown to the mule as the speculative identity of the extremes. In real¬ ity, the invention of the throstle and the mule immediately made possible the application of water-power to those machines, but Critical Criticism sorts out the principles lumped together by crude history and makes this application come only later, as something quite special. In reality the invention of the steam- engine preceded all the above-mentioned inventions; according to Criticism it is the crown of them all and the last.

In reality the business ties between Liverpool and Man¬ chester in their present scope were the result of the export of English goods; according to Criticism they are the cause of the export and both are the result of the proximity of the two towns. In reality nearly all goods from Manchester go to the Continent via Hull, according to Criticism via Liverpool.

In reality all grades of wages exist in English factories, from Is 6d to 40s and more; but according to Criticism only \one rate is paid—11s. In reality the machine replaces manual labour; according to Criticism it replaces thought. In reality the associa¬ tion of workers for wage rises is allowed in England, but ac¬ cording to Criticism it is prohibited, for when the Mass wants to allow itself anything it must first ask Criticism. In reality factory labour is extremely tiring and gives rise to specific dis¬ eases—there are even special medical works on them; according to Criticism “excessive exertion cannot be a hindrance to work, for the power is provided by the machine”. In reality the ma¬ chine is a machine; according to Criticism it has a will, for as it does not rest, neither can the worker, and he is subordinated to an alien will.

But that is still nothing at all. Criticism cannot be content with the mass-type parties in England; it creates new ones, in¬ cluding a “ factory party ”, for which history may be thankful to it. On the other hand, it lumps together the factory-owners and the factory workers in one massive heap—why bother about


such trifles!—and decrees that the factory workers refused to contribute to the Anti-Corn-Law League 6 not out of ill-will or because of Chartism, as the stupid factory-owners maintain, but merely because they were poor. It further decrees that with the repeal of the English Corn Laws agricultural labourers will have to put up with a lowering of wages, in regard to which, however, we must most submissively remark that that destitute class cannot be deprived of another penny without being re¬ duced to absolute starvation. It decrees that the working day in English factories is sixteen hours, although a silly un-Critical English law has fixed a maximum of twelve hours. It decrees that England is to become a huge workshop for the world, although the un-Critical mass of Americans, Germans and Bel¬ gians are ruining one market after another for the English by their competition. Lastly, it decrees that neither the propertied nor the non-propertied classes in England are aware of the centralisation of property and its consequences for the work¬ ing classes, although the stupid Chartists think they are well aware of them; the Socialists maintain that they expounded those consequences in detail long ago, and even Tories and Whigs like Carlyle, Alison and Gaskell have proved their knowl¬ edge of them in their works.

Criticism decrees that Lord Ashley’s Ten Hour Bill 8 is a half-hearted juste-milieu measure and Lord Ashley himself “a true illustration of constitutional action”, 3 while the factory- owners, the Chartists, the landowners—in short, all that makes up the mass nature of England—have so far considered this measure as an expression, the mildest possible one admittedly, of a downright radical principle, since it would lay the axe at the root of foreign trade and thereby at the root of the factory system—nay, not merely lay the axe to it, but cut deeply into it. Critical Criticism knows better. It knows that the ten hour ques¬ tion was discussed before a “commission” of the Lower House,

3 Here and below the quotations are taken from the continuation °f Faucher’s article, published in the AUgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft VIII, July 1844_ Ed.


although the un-Critical newspapers try to make us believe that this “commission” was the House itself, “a Committee of the Whole House" 1 -, but Criticism must needs do away with that eccentricity of the English Constitution.

Critical Criticism, which itself begets its opposite, the stupi¬ dity of the Mass, also produces the stupidity of Sir James Gra¬ ham: by a Critical understanding of the English language it puts things in his mouth which the un-Critical Home Secretary never said, just to allow Critical wisdom to shine brighter in comparison with his stupidity. Graham, according to Criticism, says that the machines in the factories wear out in about twelve years whether they work ten hours a day or twelve, and that therefore a Ten Hour Bill would make it impossible for the cap¬ italists to reproduce in twelve years through the work of their machines the capital laid out on them. Criticism proves that it has thus put a false conclusion in the mouth of Sir James Graham, for a machine that works one-sixth of the time less every day will naturally remain usable longer.

However correct this observation of Critical Criticism against its own false conclusion, it must, on the other hand, be conced¬ ed that Sir James Graham said that under a Ten Hour Bill the machine would have to work quicker in the proportion that its working time was reduced (Criticism itself quotes this in [Heft] VIII, page 32) and that in that case the time when it would be worn out would be the same—twelve years. 8 This must all the more be acknowledged as the acknowledgement contributes to the glory and exaltation of “Criticism"; for only Criticism both made the false conclusion and then refuted it. Criticism is just as magnanimous towards Lord John Russell, to whom it imputes the wish to change the political form of the state and the elector¬ al system. From this we must conclude either that Criticism’s urge to produce stupidities is uncommonly powerful or that Lord John Russell must have become a Critical Critic within the past week.

But Criticism only becomes truly magnificent in its fabrica¬ tion of stupidides when it discovers that the English workers— who in April and May held meedng after meedng, drew up


petition after petition, and all for the Ten Hour Bill, and dis¬ played more agitation throughout the factory districts than at any time during the past two years—that those workers take only a “partial interest” in this question, although it is evident that “legislation limiting the working day has also occupied their attention”. Criticism is truly magnificent when it finally makes the great, the glorious, the unheard-of discovery that

“the apparently more immediate help from the repeal of the Com Laws absorbs most of the wishes of the workers and will do so until no longer doubtful realisation of those wishes practically proves the futility of the repeal”—

proves it to workers who drag Anti-Corn-Law agitators down from the platform at every public meeting, who have seen to it that the Anti-Corn-Law League no longer dares to hold a public meeting in any English industrial town, who consider the League to be their only enemy and who, during the debate of the Ten Hour Bill—as nearly always before in similar matters—had the support of the Tories. Criticism is superb, too, when it dis¬ covers that “the workers still let themselves be lured by the sweeping promises of the Chartist movement ”, which is nothing but the political expression of public opinion among the workers. Criticism is superb, too, when it realises, in the depths of its Absolute Spirit, that

“the two party groupings, the political one and that of the landowners and mill-owners, no longer wish to merge or coincide”.

It was so far not known that the party grouping of the landowners and the mill-owners, because of the numerical small¬ ness of either class of owners and the equal political rights of each (with the exception of the few peers), was so comprehen¬ sive that it was completely identical with the political party groupings, and not their most consistent expression, their peak. Criticism is splendid when it suggests that the Anti-Corn-Law Leaguers do not know that, ceteris paribus , a a drop in the price of bread must be followed by a drop in wages, so that all would remain as it was; whereas these people expect that, granted

  • Other things remaining the same.— Ed.


there is a drop in wages and a consequent lowering of produc¬ tion costs, the result will be an expansion of the market. This, they expect, would lead to a reduction of competition among the workers, and consequently wages would still be kept a little higher in comparison with the price of bread than they are now.

Freely creating its opposite—nonsense—and moving in artistic rapture, Criticism, which only two years ago exclaimed “Criti¬ cism speaks German, theology speaks Latin!”, a has now learnt English and calls the estate-owners “ Landeigner” (landowners), the factory-owners “Muhleigner” (mill-owners)—in English a mill means any factory with machinery driven by steam or water¬ power—and the workers “ Hande ” (hands). Instead of “ Ein- mischung" it says Interferenz (interference); and in its infinite mercy for the English language, the sinful mass nature of which is abundantly evident, it condescends to improve it by doing away with the pedantry with which the English place the title “Sir” before the Christian name of knights and baronets. Where the Mass says “Sir James Graham”, it says “Sir Graham”.

That Criticism reforms English history and the English lan¬ guage out of principle and not out of levity will presently be proved by the thoroughness with which it treats the history of Herr Nauwerck.

a Bruno Bauer, Die gute Sache der Freiheit und meine eigene Angelegenheit, Zurich u. Winterthur, 1842.— Ed.





Criticism cannot ignore Herr Nauwerck’s infinitely impor¬ tant dispute with the Berlin Faculty of Philosophy. It has indeed had a similar experience and it must take Herr Nauwerck’s fate as a background in order to put its own dismissal from Bonn 10 in sharper relief. Criticism, being accustomed to considering the Bonn affair as the event of the century, and having already written the “philosophy of the deposition of criticism”, could be expected to give a similar detailed philosophical construction of the Berlin “collision”. Criticism proves a priori that everything had to happen in such a way and no other. It proves:

1) Why the Faculty of Philosophy was bound to come into “collision” not with a logician or metaphysician, but with a philosopher of the state;

2) Why that collision could not be so sharp and decisive as Criticism’s conflict with theology in Bonn;

3) Why that collision was, properly speaking, a stupid busi¬ ness, since Criticism had already concentrated all principles and all content in its Bonn collision, so that world history could only become a plagiarist of Criticism;

4) Why the Faculty of Philosophy considered attacks on the works of Herr Nauwerck as attacks on itself;

5) Why no other course remained for Herr N. but to retire of his own accord;

6) Why the Faculty had to defend Herr N. if it did not want to disavow itself;

7) Why the “inner split in the Faculty had necessarily to


manifest itself in such a way” that the Faculty declared both N. and the Government right and wrong at the same time;

8) Why the Faculty finds in N.’s works no reason for dis¬ missing him;

9) What determined the lack of clarity of the whole verdict;

10) Why the Faculty “deems itself (!) entitled (!) as a scientific authority (!) to examine the essence of the matter”, and finally;

11) Why, nevertheless, the Faculty does not want to write in the same way as Herr N.

Criticism disposes of these important questions with rare thoroughness in four pages, proving by means of Hegel’s logic why everything had to happen as it did and why no god could have prevented it. In another place Criticism says that there has not yet been full knowledge of a single epoch in history; modesty prevents it from saying that it has full knowledge of at least its own collision and Nauwerck’s, which, although they are not epochs, appear to Criticism to be epoch -making.

Having “abolished” in itself the “element” of thoroughness, Critical Criticism becomes “the tranquillity of knowledge". 11






1. Flora Tristan’s Union Ouvriere 12

The French Socialists maintain that the worker makes every¬ thing, produces everything and yet has no rights, no posses¬ sions, in short, nothing at all. Criticism answers in the words of Herr Edgar, the personification of the tranquillity of knowledge:

“To be able to create everything, a stronger consciousness is needed than that of the worker. Only the opposite of the above prop¬ osition would be true: the worker makes nothing, therefore he has nothing; but the reason why he makes nothing is that his work is always individual, having as its object his most personal needs, and is everyday work.”

Here Criticism achieves a height of abstraction in which it regards only the creations of its own thought and generalities which contradict all reality as “something”, indeed as '‘every¬ thing”. The worker creates nothing because he creates only “in¬ dividual”, that is, perceptible, palpable, spiritless and un-Critical objects, which are an abomination in the eyes of pure Criticism. Everything that is real and living is un-Critical, of a mass na¬ ture, and therefore “nothing”; only the ideal, fantastic creatures of Critical Criticism are “ everything ”,

The worker creates nothing, because his work remains indi¬ vidual, having only his individual needs as its object, that is, because in the present world system the individual interconnected branches of labour are separated from, and even opposed to, one another; in short, because labour is not organised. Criticism’s own proposition, if taken in the only reasonable sense it can possibly have, demands the organisation of labour. Flora Tristan, in an assessment of whose work this great proposition appears,


puts forward the same demand and is treated en canaille a for her insolence in anticipating Critical Criticism. Anyhow, the prop¬ osition that the worker creates nothing is absolutely crazy ex¬ cept in the sense that the individual worker produces nothing whole, which is tautology. Critical Criticism creates nothing, the worker creates everything; and so much so that even his intel¬ lectual creations put the whole of Criticism to shame; the Eng¬ lish and the French workers provide proof of this. The worker creates even man; the critic will never be anything but sub- human b though, on the other hand, of course, he has the satis¬ faction of being a Critical critic.

"Flora Tristan is an example of the feminine dogmatism which must have a formula and constructs it out of the categories of what exists.”

Criticism does nothing but “construct formulae out of the categories of what exists”, namely, out of the existing Hegelian philosophy and the existing social aspirations. Formulae, noth¬ ing but formulae. And despite all its invectives against dogmat¬ ism, it condemns itself to dogmatism and even to feminine dog¬ matism. It is and remains an old woman—faded, widowed He¬ gelian philosophy which paints and adorns its body, shrivelled into the most repulsive abstraction, and ogles all over Germany in search of a wooer.

2. Beraud on Prostitutes 13

Herr Edgar, taking pity on social questions, meddles also in “conditions of prostitutes’’ (Heft V, p. 26). c

He criticises Paris Police Commissioner Beraud’s book on prostitution because he is concerned with the “ point of view ” from which “Beraud considers the attitude of prostitutes to society”. The “tranquillity of knowledge” is surprised to see that a policeman adopts the point of view of the police, and it gives

a Contemptuously.— Ed.

b In the German text there is a pun on the words “ Mensch ” (man) and “ Unmensch” (brute).— Ed.

c Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft V, April 1844.— Ed.


the Mass to understand that that point of view is quite wrong. But it does not reveal its own point of view. Of course not! When Criticism takes up with prostitutes it cannot be expected to do so in public.

3. Love

In order to complete its transformation into the “tranquil¬ lity of knowledge”, Critical Criticism must first seek to dispose of love. Love is a passion, and nothing is more dangerous for the tranquillity of knowledge than passion. That is why, speaking of Madame von Paalzow’s novels, which, he assures us, he has “thoroughly studied ”, Herr Edgar is amazed at “a childish thing like so-called love ”. 14 It is a horror and abomination and excites the wrath of Critical Criticism, makes it almost as bitter as gall, indeed, insane.

“Love ... is a cruel goddess, and like every deity she wishes to possess the whole of man and is not satisfied until he has surrendered to her not merely his soul, hut his physical self. The worship of love is suffering, the peak of this worship is self-immolation, suicide.”

In order to change love into “Moloch”, the devil incarnate, Herr Edgar first changes it into a goddess. When love has be¬ come a goddess, i.e., a theological object, it is of course submitted to theological criticism; moreover, it is known that god and the devil are not far apart. Herr Edgar changes love into a “god¬ dess”, a “cruel goddess” at that, by changing man who loves, the love of man, into a man of love ; by making "love” a being apart, separate from man and as such independent. By this simple process, by changing the predicate into the subject, all the attributes and manifestations of human nature can be Criti¬ cally transformed into their negation and into alienations of human nature. 8 Thus, for example, Critical Criticism makes

8 A pun in the original: "alle Wesensbestimmungen und fVesen- sdusserungen des Menschen" (all the attributes and manifestations of human nature) are transformed into "Unwesen" (fantastic creatures, monsters) and into “ Wesensentausserungen ” (alienations of human es¬ sence).— Ed.


criticism, as a predicate and activity of man, into a subject apart, criticism which relates itself to itself and is therefore Critical Criticism: a “Moloch”, the worship of which consists in the self- immolation, the suicide of man, and in particular of his ability to think.

“Object” exclaims the tranquillity of knowledge, “object is the right expression, for the beloved is important to the lover [derm der Geliebte ist dent Liebenden ] (there is no feminine) only as this exter¬ nal object of the emotion of his soul, as the object in which he wishes to see his selfish feeling satisfied.”

Object! Horrible! There is nothing more damnable, more profane, more mass-like than an object—a bas 8 the object! How could absolute subjectivity, the actus purus , b “pure” Criticism, not see in love its bete noire, Q that Satan incarnate, in love, which first really teaches man to believe in the objective world outside himself, which not only makes man into an object, but even the object into a man!

Love, continues the tranquillity of knowledge, beside itself, is not even content with turning man into the category of “object ” for another man, it even makes him into a definite, real object, into this bad-individual (see Hegel’s Phanomenolo- gie d on the categories “This” and “That”, where there is also a polemic against the bad “This”), external object, which does not remain internal, hidden in the brain, but is sensuously manifest.


Lives not only in the brain immured.

No, the beloved is a sensuous object, and if Critical Criti¬ cism is to condescend to recognition of an object, it demands at the very least a senseless object. But love is an un-Critical, un-Christian materialist.

» Down with.— Ed.

  • > Pure act.— Ed.

c Object of special detestation.— Ed. d G. W. F. Hegel, Phanomenologie des Geistes. — Ed.


Finally, love even makes one human being “this external object of the emotion of the soul ” of another, the object in which the selfish feeling of the other finds its satisfaction, a selfish feeling because it looks for its own essence in the other, and that must not be. Critical Criticism is so free from all selfishness that for it the whole range of human essence is exhausted by its own self.

Herr Edgar, of course, does not tell us in what way the beloved differs from the other “external objects of the emotion of the soul in which the selfish feelings of men find their satis¬ faction”. The spiritually profound, meaningful, highly expres¬ sive object of love means nothing to the tranquillity of knowledge but the abstract formula: “this external object of the emotion of the soul”, much as the comet means nothing to the specula¬ tive natural philosopher but “negativity”. By making man the external object of the emotion of his soul, man does in fact at¬ tach “importance” to him. Critical Criticism itself admits, but only objective importance, so to speak, while the importance which Criticism attaches to objects is none other than that which it attaches to itself. Hence this importance lies not in “bad ex¬ ternal being", but in the “ Nothing ” of the Cridcally important object.

If the tranquillity of knowledge has no object in real man, it has, on the other hand, a cause in humanity. Critical love “is careful above all not to forget the cause behind the person¬ ality, for that cause is none other than the cause of human¬ ity”. Un-Critical love does not separate humanity from the per¬ sonal, individual man.

“Love itself, as an abstract passion, which comes we know not whence and goes we know not whither, is incapable of having an in¬ terest in internal development.”

In the eyes of the tranquillity of knowledge, love is an abstract passion according to the speculative terminology in which the concrete is called abstract and the abstract concrete.

The maid was not bom in that valley,

But where she came from, no one knew.


And soon all trace of her did vanish Once she had bidden them adieu. 1

For abstraction, love is “the maid from a foreign land” who has no dialectical passport and is therefore expelled from the country by the Critical police.

The passion of love is incapable of having an interest in in¬ ternal development because it cannot be construed a priori, because its development is a real one which takes place in the world of the senses and between real individuals. But the main interest of speculative construction is the “Whence” and the “Whither”. The “Whence” is the “necessity of a concept, its proof and deduction” (Hegel). The “Whither” is the determi¬ nation “by which each individual link of the speculative circular course, as the animated content of the method, is at the same time the beginning of a new link” (Hegel). Hence, only if its “Whence” and its “Whither” could be construed a priori would love deserve the “interest” of speculative Criticism.

What Critical Criticism combats here is not merely love but everything living, everything which is immediate, every sen¬ suous experience, any and every real experience, the “Whence” and the “Whither” of which one never knows beforehand.

By overcoming love, Herr Edgar has completely asserted himself as the “tranquillity of knowledge”, and now by his treat¬ ment of Proudhon, he can show great virtuosity in knowledge, the “ object ” of which is no longer “ this external object ”, and a still greater lack of love for the French language.

4, Proudhon

It was not Proudhon himself, but “Proudhon’s point of view”, Critical Criticism informs us, that wrote Qu’est-ce que la propriete?

“I begin my exposition of Proudhon’s point of view by character¬ ising its” (the point of view’s) “work, Qu’est-ce que la propriete?” 1 '

1 From Schiller’s Das Madchen aus der Fremde. — Ed.


As only the works of the Critical point of view possess a character of their own, the Critical characterisation necessarily begins by giving a character to Proudhon’s work. Herr Edgar gives this work a character by translating it. He naturally gives it a bad character, for he turns it into an object of “ Criticism .”.

Proudhon’s work, therefore, is subjected to a double attack by Herr Edgar—an unspoken one in his characterising transla¬ tion and an outspoken one in his Critical comments. We shall see that Herr Edgar is more devastating when he translates than when he comments.

Characterising Translation No. 1

“I do not wish” (says the Critically translated Proudhon) “to give any system of the new; I wish for nothing but the abolition of privi¬ lege, the abolition of slavery. . . . Justice, nothing but justice, that is what I mean.”

The characterised Proudhon confines himself to will and opinion, because “good will” and unscientific “opinion” are char¬ acteristic attributes of the un-Critical Mass. The characterised Proudhon behaves with the humility that is fitting for the Mass and subordinates what he wishes to what he does not wish. He does not presume to wish to give a system of the new, he wishes less, he even wishes for nothing but the abolition of privilege, etc. Besides this Critical subordination of the will he has to the will he has not, his very first word is marked by a characteristic lack of logic. A writer who begins his book by saying that he does not wish to give any system of the new, should then tell us what he does wish to give: whether it is a systematised old or an unsystematised new. But does the characterised Proudhon, who does not wish to give any system of the new, wish to give the abolition of privilege? No. He just wishes it.

The real Proudhon says: “]e ne fais pas de systeme; je de- ntande la fin du privilege ,” a etc. I make no system, I demand,

a “I make no system, I demand an end of privilege.”— Ed.


etc., that is to say, the real Proudhon declares that he does not pursue any abstract scientific aims, but makes immediately practical demands on society. And the demand he makes is not an arbitrary one. It is motivated and justified by his whole argument and is the summary of that argument for, he says, “ justice, rien que justice; tel est le resume de mon discours .”* With his “justice, nothing but justice, that is what I mean”, the characterised Proudhon gets himself into a position which is all the more embarrassing as he means much more. According to Herr Edgar, for example, he "means” that philosophy has not been practical enough, he "means” to refute Charles Comte, and so forth.

The Critical Proudhon asks: “Ought man then always to be unhappy?” In other words, he asks whether unhappiness is man’s moral destiny. The real Proudhon is a light-minded French¬ man and he asks whether unhappiness is a material necessity, a must. (L’homme doit-il etre eternellement malheureux? b )

The mass-type Proudhon says:

“Et, sans m’arreter aux explications a toute fin des entrepreneurs de reformes, accusant de la detresse generale, ceux-ci la lachete et l’impe- ritie du pouvoir, ceux-la les conspirateurs et les emeutes, d’autres l’ig- norance et la corruption generale”, etc.c

The expression "d toute fin” being a bad mass-type expres¬ sion that is not in the mass-type German dictionaries, the Critical Proudhon naturally omits this more exact definition of the “ex¬ planations”. This term is taken from mass-type French jurispru¬ dence, and "explications a toute fin” means explanations which preclude any objection. The Critical Proudhon censures the "Reformists”, a French Socialist Party 16 ; the mass-type Proudhon

a “Justice, nothing but justice; that is the summary of what I say.”— Ed.

b Must man for ever be unhappy?— Ed.

c “Without dwelling on the explanations precluding all objections given by the initiators of reforms, some of whom blame for the general distress the cowardice and incapacity of the government, others—con¬ spirators and revolts, others again—ignorance and general corruption”, etc.— Ed.


censures the initiators of reforms. The mass-type Proudhon dis¬ tinguishes various classes of “ entrepreneurs de reformes” . These ( ceux-ci) say one thing, those ( ceux-la) say another, others ( d’autres ) a third. The Critical Proudhon, on the other hand, makes the same reformists “accuse now one, then another, then a third”, which in any case is proof of their inconstancy. The real Proudhon, who follows mass-type French practice, speaks of “les conspirateurs et les emeutes”, i.e., first of the conspirators and then of their activity, revolts. The Critical Proudhon, on the other hand, who has lumped together the various classes of reformists, classifies the rebels and hence says: the conspirators and the rebels. The mass-type Proudhon speaks of ignorance and “ general corruption”, The Critical Proudhon changes igno¬ rance into stupidity, “corruption” into “depravity”, and finally, as a Critical cridc, makes the stupidity general. He himself gives an immediate example of it by putting “ generale” in the sin¬ gular instead of the plural. He writes: “ I’ignorance et la corrup¬ tion generale ” for general stupidity and depravity. According to un-Cntical French grammar this should be: I’ignorance et la corruption generates.

The characterised Proudhon, who speaks and thinks other¬ wise than the mass-type one, necessarily went through quite a different course of education. He “questioned the masters of science, read hundreds of volumes of philosophy and iaw, etc., and at last ” he “realised that we have never yet grasped the meaning of the words Jusdce, Equity, Freedom”. The real Proud¬ hon thought he had realised at first (je crus d’abord reconnoitre a ) what die Critical Proudhon realised only “at last”. The Cridcal alteration of d’abord into enfn is necessary because the Mass may not think it realises anything “at first”. The mass-type Proudhon tells explicitly how he was staggered by the unexpected result of his studies and distrusted it. Hence he decided to carry out a “ countertest ” and asked himself: “Is it possible that mankind has so long and so universally been mistaken over the princi¬ ples of the application of morals? How and why was it mis-

  • I thought at first I had recognised.— Ed.



taken?” etc. He made the correctness of his observations depen¬ dent on the solution of these quesdons. He found that in mor¬ als, as in all other branches of knowledge, errors “are stages of science”. The Critical Proudhon, on the other hand, imme¬ diately trusted the first impression that his studies of polidcal economy, law and the like made upon him. Needless to say, the Mass cannot proceed in any thorough way; it is bound to raise the first results of its investigations to the level of indis¬ putable truths. It has “reached the end before it has started, before it has measured itself with its opposite”. Hence, “it is seen” later “that it is not yet at the beginning when it thinks it has reached the end”.

The Cridcal Proudhon therefore continues his reasoning in the most untenable and incoherent way.

“Our knowledge of moral laws is not complete from the begin¬ ning; thus it can for some time suffice for social progress, but in the long run it will lead us on a false path.”

The Critical Proudhon does not give any reason why in¬ complete knowledge of moral laws can suffice for social pro¬ gress even for a single day. The real Proudhon, having asked himself whether and why mankind could universally and so long have been mistaken and having found as the solution that all errors are stages of science and that our most imper¬ fect judgments contain a sum of truths sufficient for a certain number of inductions and for a certain area of practical life, beyond which number and which area they lead theoretically to the absurd and practically to decay, is in a position to say that even imperfect knowledge of moral laws can suffice for social progress for a time.

The Critical Proudhon says:

“But if new knowledge has become necessary, a bitter struggle arises between the old prejudices and the new idea.”

How can a struggle arise against an opponent who does not yet exist? Admitted, the Critical Proudhon has told us that a new idea has become necessary but he has not said that it has already come into existence.


The mass-type Proudhon says:

“Once higher knowledge has become indispensable it is never lacking ”, it is therefore ready at hand. “It is then that the struggle begins.”

The Critical Proudhon asserts: “It is man’s destiny to learn step by step,” as if man did not have a quite different destiny, namely, that of being man, and as if that learning “step by step” necessarily brought him a step farther. I can go step by step and arrive at the very point from which I set out. The un-Critical Proudhon speaks, not of “destiny”, but of the con¬ dition (condition) for man to learn not step by step (pas a pas), but by degrees (par degres). The Critical Proudhon says to himself:

“Among the principles upon which society rests there is one which society does not understand, which is spoilt by society’s ignorance and is the cause of all evil. Nevertheless, man honours this principle” and “wills it, for otherwise it would have no influence. Now this principle which is true in its essence but is false in the way we conceive it .. . what is it?”

In the first sentence the Critical Proudhon says that the principle is spoilt, misunderstood by society, hence that it is correct in itself. In the second sentence he admits superfluously that it is true in its essence; nevertheless he reproaches society with willing and honouring “this principle”. The mass-type Proudhon, on the other hand, reproaches society with willing and honouring not this principle, but this principle as falsified by our ignorance (“Ce principe ... tel que notre ignorance l’a fait, est honore .” a ). The Critical Proudhon finds the essence of the principle in its untrue form true. The mass-type Proud¬ hon finds that the essence of the falsified principle is our in¬ correct conception, but that it is true in its object (objet), just as the essence of alchemy and astrology is our imagination, but their objects—the movement of the heavenly bodies and the chemical properties of substances—are true.

The Critical Proudhon continues his monologue:

a “This principle ... as our ignorance has made it, is honoured.”

— Ed.


“The object of our investigation is the law, the definition of the social principle. Now the politicians, i.e., the men of social science, are a prey to complete lack of clarity ..but as there is a reality at the basis of every error, in their books we shall find the truth, which they have brought into the world without knowing it.”

The Critical Proudhon has a most fantastic way of reason¬ ing. From the fact that the politicians are ignorant and unclear, he goes on in the most arbitrary fashion to say that a reality lies at the basis of every error, which can all the less be doubted as there is a reality at the basis of every error—in the person of the one who errs. From the fact that a reality lies at the basis of every error he goes on to conclude that truth is to be found in the books of politicians. And finally he even makes out that the politicians have brought this truth into the world. Had they brought it into the world we should not need to look for it in their books.

The mass-type Proudhon says:

“The politicians do not understand one another (ne s’entendent pas); their error is therefore a subjective one, having its origin in them ( done e’est en eux qu’est I’erreur) .” Their mutual misunderstand¬ ing proves their one-sidedness. They confuse “their private opinion with common sense”, and “as”, according to the previous deduction, “every error has a true reality as its object, their books must contain the truth, which they unconsciously have put there”—i.e., in their books—“but have not brought into the world” (dans leurs livres doit se trouuer la verite, qu’d leur insu ils y auront mise).

The Critical Proudhon asks himself: “What is justice, what is its essence, its character, its meaning?” As if it had some meaning apart from its essence and character. The un-Critical Proudhon asks: What is its principle, its character and its formula ( formule ) ? The formula is the principle as a principle of scientific reasoning. In the mass-type French language there is an essen¬ tial difference between formule and signification. In the Critical French language there is none.

After his highly irrelevant disquisitions, the Critical Proud¬ hon pulls himself together and exclaims:

“Let us try to get somewhat closer to our object.”


The un-Critical Proudhon, on the other hand, who arrived at his object long ago, tries to attain more precise and more positive definitions of his object (d’arriver a quelque chose de plus precis et de plus positif).

For the Critical Proudhon “the law is a definition of what is right”, for the un-Critical Proudhon it is a “ statement ” ( declaration ) of it. The un-Critical Proudhon disputes the view that right is made by law. But a “definition of the law” can mean that the law is defined just as it can mean that it defines. Previously, the Critical Proudhon himself spoke about the definition of the social principle in this latter sense. To be sure, it is unseemly of the mass-type Proudhon to make such nice distinctions.

Considering these differences between the Critically char¬ acterised Proudhon and the real Proudhon, it is no wonder that Proudhon No. 1 seeks to prove quite different things than Proudhon No. 2.

The Critical Proudhon

“seeks to prove by the experience of history ” that “if the idea that we have of what is just and right is false, evidently” (he tries to prove it in spite of its evidence) “all its applications in law must be bad, all our institutions must be defective”.

The mass-type Proudhon is far from wishing to prove what is evident. He says instead:

“If the idea that we have of what is just and right were badly defined, if it were incomplete or even false, it is evident that all our legislative applications would be bad”, etc.

What, then, does the un-Critical Proudhon wish to prove?

“This hypothesis,” he continues, “of the perversion of justice in our understanding, and as a necessary consequence in our actions, would be an established fact if the opinions of men concerning the concept of justice and its applications had not remained constantly the same, if at different times they had undergone modifications; in a word, if there had been progress in ideas.”

And precisely that inconstancy, that change, that progress "is what history proves by the most striking testimonies”. And the un-Critical Proudhon quotes these striking testimonies of


history. His Critical double, who proves a completely different proposition by the experience of history, also presents that ex¬ perience itself in a different way.

According to the real Proudhon, “the wise” ( les sages), according to the Critical Proudhon, “the philosophers”, fore¬ saw the fall of the Roman Empire. The Critical Proudhon can of course consider only philosophers to be wise men. Accord¬ ing to the real Proudhon, Roman “rights were consecrated by ten centuries of law practice” or “administration of justice” (ces droits consacres par une justice dix fois seculaire) ; accord¬ ing to the Critical Proudhon, Rome had “rights consecrated by ten centuries of justice”.

According to the same Proudhon No. 1, the Romans rea¬ soned as follows:

“Rome . . . was victorious through its policy and its gods; any reform in worship or public spirit would be stupidity and profanation” (according to the Critical Proudhon, sacrilege means not the profana¬ tion or desecration of a holy thing, as in the mass-type French lan¬ guage, but just profanation). “Had it wished to free the peoples, it would thereby have renounced its right.” “Rome had thus fact and right in its favour,” Proudhon No. 1 adds.

According to the un-Critical Proudhon, the Romans rea¬ soned more logically. The fact was set out in detail:

“The slaves are the most fertile source of its wealth; the freeing of the peoples would therefore be the ruin of its finance.”

And the mass-type Proudhon adds, referring to law: “Ro¬ me’s claims were justified by the law of nations ( droit des gens).” This way of proving the right of subjugation was completely in keeping with the Roman view on law. See the mass-type pandects: “ jure gentium servitus invasit ” (Fr. 4. D. I. I.).»

According to the Critical Proudhon, “idolatry, slavery and softness” were “the basis of Roman institutions”, of all its institutions without exception. The real Proudhon says: “Idol¬ atry in religion, slavery in the state and Epicureanism in pri-

  • “Slavery was spread by the law of nations.” (Corpus iuris civi-

lis, Vol. 1, Digesta”: Liber primus, titulus I, fragmentum 4.)— Ed.


vate life” ( ipicurisme in the ordinary French language is not synonymous with mollesse, softness) “were the basis of the institu¬ tions.” Within that Roman situation there “appeared”, says the mystic Proudhon, “the Word of God”, whereas according to the real, rationalistic Proudhon, it was “a man who called himself the Word of God”. In the real Proudhon this man calls the priests “vipers” ( viperes ); in the Critical Proudhon he speaks more courteously with them and calls them “serpents”. In the former he speaks in the Roman way of “advocates” [Advokaten], in the latter in the German way of “lawyers” [ Rechtsgelehrte ].

The Critical Proudhon calls the spirit of the French Rev¬ olution a spirit of contradiction, and adds:

“That is enough to realise that the new which replaced the old had on itself [an sich] nothing methodical and considered.”

He cannot refrain from repeating mechanically the favour¬ ite categories of Critical Criticism, the “old” and the “new”. He cannot refrain from the senseless demand that the “new” should have on itself [an sich) something methodical and con¬ sidered, just as one might have a stain on oneself [an sich). The real Proudhon says:

“That is enough to prove that the new order of things which was substituted for the old was in itself [in sich) without method or reflection.”

Carried away by the memory of the French Revolution, the Critical Proudhon revolutionises the French language so much that he translates un fait physique 3 by “a fact of physics”, and un fait intellectuefo by “a fact of the intellect”. By this revo¬ lution in the French language the Critical Proudhon manages to put physics in possession of all the facts to be found in na¬ ture. Raising natural science unduly on one side, he debases it just as much on the other by depriving it of intellect and distinguishing between a fact of physics and a fact of the in¬ tellect. To the same extent he makes all further psychological

a A physical fact.— Ed.

An intellectual fact.— Ed.


and logical investigation unnecessary by raising the intellectual fact directly to the level of a fact of the intellect.

Since the Critical Proudhon, Proudhon No. 1, has not the slightest idea what the real Proudhon, Proudhon No. 2, wishes to prove by his historical deduction, neither does the real con¬ tent of that deduction exist for him, namely, the proof of the change in the views on law and of the continuous implemen¬ tation of justice by the negation of historical actual right.

“La sociSte fut sauvee par la negation de ses ... principes... et la violation des droits les plus sacres.” 3

Thus the real Proudhon proves how the negation of Roman law led to the widening of right in the Christian conception, the negation of the right of conquest to the right of the com¬ munes and the negation of the whole feudal law by the French Revolution to the present more comprehensive system of law.

Critical Criticism could not possibly leave Proudhon the glory of having discovered the law of the implementation of a principle by its negation. In this conscious formulation, this idea was a real revelation for the French.

Critical Comment No. 1

As the first criticism of any science is necessarily influenced by the premises of the science it is fighting against, so Proud¬ hon’s treatise Qu’est-ce que la propriete? is the criticism of political economy from the standpoint of political economy.— We need not go more deeply into the juridical part of the book, which criticises law from the standpoint of law, for our main interest is the criticism of political economy.—Proudhon’s treatise will therefore be scientifically superseded by a criticism of polit¬ ical economy, including Proudhon’s conception of political economy. This work became possible only owing to the work

» “Society was saved by the negation of its principles... and the violation of the most sacred rights.” — Ed.


of Proudhon himself, just as Proudhon’s criticism has as its premise the criticism of the mercantile system by the physiocrats, Adam Smith’s criticism of the physiocrats, Ricardo’s criticism of Adam Smith, and the works of Fourier and Saint-Simon.

All treatises on political economy take private property for granted. This basic premise is for them an incontestable fact to which they devote no further investigation, indeed a fact which is spoken about only “accidentellement” , as Say naively admits.* But Proudhon makes a critical investigation—the first resolute, ruthless, and at the same time scientific investigation— of the basis of political economy, private property. This is the great scientific advance he made, an advance which revolution¬ ises political economy and for the first time makes a real science of political economy possible. Proudhon’s treatise Qu’est- ce que la propriete? is as important for modern political econ¬ omy as Sieyes’ work Qu’est-ce que le tiers etat? h for modern politics.

Proudhon does not consider the further creations of private property, e.g., wages, trade, value, price, money, etc., as forms of private property in themselves, as they are considered, for example, in the Deutsch-Franzdsische Jahrbiicher (see Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy by F. Engels c ), but uses these economic premises in arguing against the political econom¬ ists; this is fully in keeping with his historically justified standpoint to which we referred above.

Accepting the relationships of private property as human and rational, political economy operates in permanent contra¬ diction to its basic premise, private property, a contradiction analogous to that of the theologian who continually gives a human interpretation to religious conceptions, and by that very fact comes into constant conflict with his basic premise, the superhuman character of religion. Thus in political economy

  • J.-B. Say, TraitS d’economie politique, t. II, p. 471.— Ed.

What Is the Third Estate? — Ed.

c See K. Marx and F. Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 3, pp. 418- 43.— Ed.


wages appear at the beginning as the proportional share of the product due to labour. Wages and profit on capital stand in the most friendly, mutually stimulating, apparently most human relationship to each other. Afterwards it turns out that they stand in the most hostile relationship, in inverse proportion to each other. Value is determined at the beginning in an appar¬ ently rational way, by the cost of production of an object and by its social usefulness. Later it turns out that value is deter¬ mined quite fortuitously and that it does not need to bear any relation to either the cost of production or social usefulness. The size of wages is determined at the beginning by fvee agree¬ ment between the free worker and the free capitalist. Later it turns out that the worker is compelled to allow the capitalist to determine it, just as the capitalist is compelled to fix it as low as possible. Freedom of the contracting parties has been supplanted by compulsion. The same holds good of trade and all other economic relationships. The economists themselves occa¬ sionally feel these contradictions, the development of which is the main content of the conflict between them. When, however, the economists become conscious of these contradictions, they themselves attack private property in one or other particular form as the falsifier of what is in itself (i.e., in their imagination) rational wages, in itself rational value, in itself rational trade. Adam Smith, for instance, occasionally polemises against the capitalists, Destutt de Tracy against the money-changers, Si- monde de Sismondi against the factory system, Ricardo against landed property, and nearly all modern economists against the non-industrial capitalists, among whom property appears as a mere consumer.

Thus, as an exception—when they attack some special abuse —the economists occasionally stress the semblance of humanity in economic relations, but sometimes, and as a rule, they take these relations precisely in their clearly pronounced difference from the human, in their strictly economic sense. They stagger about within this contradiction completely unaware of it.

Now Proudhon has put an end to this unconsciousness once for all. He takes the human semblance of the economic relations


seriously and sharply opposes it to their inhuman reality. He forces them to be in reality what they imagine themselves to be, or rather to give up their own idea of themselves and confess their real inhumanity. He therefore consistently depicts as the falsifier of economic relations not this or that particular kind of private property, as other economists do, but private prop¬ erty as such and in its entirety. He has done all that criticism of political economy from the standpoint of political economy can do.

Herr Edgar, who wishes to characterise the standpoint of the treatise Qu’est-ce que la propriete?, naturally does not say a word either of political economy or of the distinctive character of this book, which is precisely that it has made the essence of private property the vital question of political economy and jurisprudence. This is all self-evident for Critical Criticism. Proudhon, it says, has done nothing new by his negation of pri¬ vate property. He has only let out a secret which Critical Criti¬ cism did not want to divulge.

“Proudhon,” Herr Edgar continues immediately after his character¬ ising translation, “therefore finds something absolute, an eternal foun¬ dation in history, a god that guides mankind—justice.”

Proudhon’s book, written in France in 1840, does not adopt the standpoint of German development in 1844. It is Proudhon’s standpoint, a standpoint which is shared by countless diametri¬ cally opposed French writers, which therefore gives Critical Criticism the advantage of having characterised the most con¬ tradictory standpoints with a single stroke of the pen. Inciden¬ tally, to be relieved from this Absolute in history as well one has only to apply consistently the law formulated by Proudhon himself, that of the implementation of justice by its negation. If Proudhon does not carry consistency as far as that, it is only because he had the misfortune of being born a Frenchman, not a German.

For Herr Edgar, Proudhon has become a theological object by his Absolute in history, his belief in justice, and Critical Crit¬ icism, which is ex professo a criticism of theology, can now


set to work on him in order to expatiate on “religious concep¬ tions”.

“It is a characteristic of every religious conception that it sets up as a dogma a situation in which at the end one of the opposites comes out victorious as the only truth.”

We shall see how religious Critical Criticism sets up as a dogma a situation in which at the end one of the opposites, “ Criticism ”, comes out victorious over the other, the “Mass”, as the only truth. By seeing in mass-type justice an Absolute, a god of history, Proudhon committed an injustice that is all the greater because just Criticism has explicitly reserved for itself the role of that Absolute, that god in history.

Critical Comment No. 2

“The fact of misery, of poverty, makes Proudhon one-sided in his considerations; he sees in it a contradiction to equality and justice; it provides him with a weapon. Hence this fact becomes for him abso¬ lute and justified, whereas the fact of property becomes unjustified.”

The tranquillity of knowledge tells us that Proudhon sees in the fact of poverty a contradiction to justice, that is to say, finds it unjustified; yet in the same breath it assures us that this fact becomes for him absolute and justified.

Hitherto political economy proceeded from wealth, which the movement of private property supposedly creates for the nations, to its considerations which are an apology for private property. Proudhon proceeds from the opposite side, which political econ¬ omy sophistically conceals, from the poverty bred by the move¬ ment of private property to his considerations which negate private property. The first criticism of private property proceeds, of course, from the fact in which its contradictory essence ap¬ pears in the form that is most perceptible and most glaring and most directly arouses man’s indignation—from the fact of pov¬ erty, of misery.

“Criticism, on the other hand, joins the two facts, poverty and property, in a single unity, grasps the inner link between them and makes them a single whole, which it investigates as such to find the preconditions for its existence.”


Criticism, which has hitherto understood nothing of the facts of property and of poverty, uses, “on the other hand”, the deed which it has accomplished in its imagination as an argument against Proudhon’s real deed. It unites the two facts in a single one, and having made one out of two, grasps the inner link between the two. Criticism cannot deny that Proudhon, too, is aware of an inner link between the facts of poverty and of prop¬ erty, since because of that very link he abolishes property in order to abolish poverty. Proudhon did even more. He proved in detail how the movement of capital produces poverty. But Critical Criticism does not bother with such trifles. It recognises that poverty and private property are opposites —a rather wide¬ spread recognition. It makes poverty and wealth a single whole, which it “investigates as such to find the preconditions for its existence”; an investigation which is all the more superfluous since it has just made “the whole as such” and therefore its making is in itself the precondition for the existence of this whole.

By investigating “the whole as such” to find the preconditions for its existence, Critical Cridcism is searching in the genuine theological manner outside the “whole” for the preconditions for its existence. Cridcal speculation operates outside the object which it pretends to deal with. Whereas the whole antithesis is nothing but the movement of both its sides, and the precondi¬ tion for the existence of the whole lies in the very nature of the two sides. But Critical Criticism dispenses with the study of this real movement which forms the whole in order to be able to declare that it, Critical Criticism as the tranquillity of knowledge, is above both extremes of the andthesis, and that its activity, which has made “the whole as such”, is now alone in a position to abolish the abstraction of which it is the maker.

Proletariat and wealth are opposites; as such they form a single whole. They are both creations of the world of private property. The question is exactly what place each occupies in the antithesis. It is not sufficient to declare them two sides of a single whole.


Private property as private property, as wealth, is compelled to maintain itself, and thereby its opposite, the proletariat, in existence. That is the positive side of the anuthesis, self-sausfied private property.

The proletariat, on the contrary, is compelled as proletariat to abolish itself and thereby its opposite, private property, which determines its existence, and which makes it proletariat. It is the negative side of the andthesis, its restlessness within its very self, dissolved and self-dissolving private property.

The propertied class and the class of the proletariat present the same human self-estrangement. But the former class feels at ease and strengthened in this self-estrangement, it recognises estrangement as its own power and has in it the semblance of a human existence. The latter feels annihilated in estrange¬ ment; it sees in it its own powerlessness and the reality of an inhuman existence. It is, to use an expression of Hegel, in its abasement the indignation at that abasement, an in¬ dignation to which it is necessarily driven by the contradiction between its human nature and its condition of life, which is the outright, resolute and comprehensive negation of that nature.

Within dds andthesis the private property-owner is there¬ fore the conservative side, the proletarian the destructive side. From the former arises the acdon of preserving the antithesis, from the latter the acdon of annihilating it.

Indeed private property drives itself in its economic move¬ ment towards its own dissolution, but only through a develop¬ ment which does not depend on it, which is unconscious and which takes place against the will of private property by the very nature of things, only inasmuch as it produces the proletariat as proletariat, poverty which is conscious of its spiritual and physical poverty, dehumanisation which is conscious of its de¬ humanisation, and therefore self-abolishing. The proletariat executes the sentence that private property pronounces on itself by producing the proletariat, just as it executes the sentence that wage-labour pronounces on itself by producing wealth for others and poverty for itself. When the proletariat is victorious,


it by no means becomes the absolute side of society, for it is victorious only by abolishing itself and its opposite. Then the proletariat disappears as well as the opposite which determines it, private property.

When socialist writers ascribe this world-historic role to the proletariat, it is not at all, as Critical Criticism pretends to believe, because they regard the proletarians as gods. Rather the con¬ trary. Since in the fully-formed proletariat the abstraction of all humanity, even of the semblance of humanity, is practically complete; since the conditions of life of the proletariat s um up all the conditions of life of society today in their most inhuman form; since man has lost himself in the proletariat, yet at the same time has not only gained theoretical consciousness of that loss, but through urgent, no longer removable, no longer dis- guisable, absolutely imperative need —the practical expression of necessity —is driven directly to revolt against this inhumanity, it follows that the proletariat can and must emancipate itself. But it cannot emancipate itself without abolishing the conditions of its own life. It cannot abolish the conditions of its own life without abolishing all the inhuman conditions of life of society today which are summed up in its own situation. Not in vain does it go through the stern but steeling school of labour. It is not a question of what this or that proletarian, or even the whole proletariat, at the moment regards as its aim. It is a question of what the proletariat is, and what, in accordance with this being, it will historically be compelled to do. Its aim and historical action is visibly and irrevocably foreshadowed in its own life situation as well as in the whole organisation of bourgeois society today. There is no need to explain here that a large part of the English and French proletariat is already conscious of its historic task and is constantly working to develop that conscious¬ ness into complete clarity.

“Critical Criticism” can all the less admit this since it has proclaimed itself the exclusive creative element in history. To 11 belong the historical antitheses, to it belongs the task of abolishing them. That is why it issues the folowing notification through its incarnation, Edgar:


“Education and lack of education, property and absence of prop¬ erty, these antitheses, if they are not to be desecrated , must be wholly and entirely the concern of Criticism.”

Property and absence of property have received metaphysical consecration as Critical speculative antitheses. That as why only the hand of Critical Criticism can touch them without commit¬ ting a sacrilege. Capitalists and workers must not interfere in their mutual relationship.

Far from having any idea that his Critical conception of antitheses could be touched, that this holy thing could be de¬ secrated, Herr Edgar lets his opponent make an objection that he alone could make to himself.

“Is it then possible,” the imaginary opponent of Critical Criticism asks, “to use other concepts than those already existing—liberty, equal¬ ity, etc.? 1 answer” (note Herr Edgar’s answer) “that Greek and Latin perished as soon as the range oi thoughts that they served to express was exhausted.”

It is now clear why Critical Criticism does not give a single thought in German. The language of its thoughts has not yet come into being in spite of all that Herr Reichardt by his Crit¬ ical handling of foreign words, Herr Faucher by his handling of English, and Herr Edgar by his handling of French, have done to prepare the new Critical language.

Characterising Translation No. 2

The Critical Proudhon says:

“The husbandmen divided the land among themselves; equality consecrated only possession; on tins occasion it consecrated property.”

The Critical Proudhon makes landed property arise simul¬ taneously with the division of land. He effects the transition from possession to property by the expression “on this occasion”.

The real Proudhon says:

“Husbandry was the basis of possession of the land. ... It was not enough to ensure for the tiller the fruit of his labour without ensuring for him at the same time the instruments of production. To


guard the weaker against the encroachments of the stronger ... it was felt necessary to establish permanent demarcation lines between own¬ ers.”

On this occasion, therefore, it is possession that equality con¬ secrated in the first place.

“Every year saw the population increase and the greed of the settlers grow; it was thought ambition should be checked by new in¬ superable barriers. Thus the land became property owing to the need for equality . .. doubtless the division was never geographically equal . .. but the principle nevertheless remained the same; equality had consecrated possession, equality consecrated property.”

According to the Critical Proudhon

“the ancient founders of property, absorbed with concern for their needs, overlooked the fact that to the right of property corresponded at the same time the right to alienate, to sell, to give away, to acquire and to lose, which destroyed the equality from which they started out”.

According to the real Proudhon it was not that the found¬ ers of property overlooked this course of its development in their concern for their needs. It was rather that they did not foresee it; but even if they had been able to foresee it, their actual need would have gained the upper hand. Besides, the real Proudhon is too mass-minded to counterpose the right to alienate, sell, etc., to the “right of property ”, i.e., to counterpose the varieties to the species. He contrasts the “right to keep one’s heritage” to the “right to alienate it, etc.,” which constitutes a real opposition and a real step forward.

Critical Comment No. 3

“On what then does Proudhon base his proof of the impossibility °f property? Difficult as it is to believe it—on the same principle of equality!”

A short consideration would have sufficed to arouse the belief of Herr Edgar. He must be aware that Herr Bruno Bauer based a H his arguments on “infinite self-consciousness” and that he also saw in this principle the creative principle of the gospels



which, by their infinite unconsciousness, appear to be in direct contradiction to infinite self-consciousness. In the same way Proudhon conceives equality as the creative principle of private property, which is in direct contradiction to equality. If Herr Edgar compares French equality with German “self-conscious¬ ness” for an instant, he will see that the latter principle expresses in German, i.e., in abstract thought, what the former says in French, that is, in the language of politics and of thoughtful observation. Self-consciousness is man’s equality with himself in pure thought. Equality is man’s consciousness of himself in the element of practice, i.e., man’s consciousness of other men as his equals and man’s attitude to other men as his equals. Equal¬ ity is the French expression for the unity of human essence, for man’s consciousness of his species and his attitude towards his species, for the practical identity of man with man, i.e., for the social or human relation of man to man. Hence, just as destruc¬ tive criticism in Germany, before it had progressed in Feuer¬ bach to the consideration of real man, tried to resolve everything definite and existing by the principle of self-consciousness, de¬ structive criticism in France tried to do the same by the princi¬ ple of equality.

“Proudhon is angry with philosophy, for which, in itself, we can¬ not blame him. But why is he angry? Philosophy, he maintains, has not yet been practical enough; it has mounted the high horse of speculation and from up there human beings have seemed much too small. I think that philosophy is overpractical, i.e., it has so far been nothing but the abstract expression of the existing state of things; it has always been captive to the premises of the existing state of things, which it has accepted as absolute.”

The opinion that philosophy is the abstract expression of the existing state of things does not belong originally to Herr Edgar. It belongs to Feuerbach, who was the first to describe philosophy as speculative and mystical empiricism and to prove it. But Herr Edgar manages to give this opinion an original. Critical twist. While Feuerbach concludes that philosophy must come down from the heaven of speculation to the depth of


human misery, Herr Edgar, on the contrary, informs us that philosophy is overpractical. However, it seems rather that phi¬ losophy, precisely because it was only the transcendent, abstract expression of the actual state of things, by reason of its trans¬ cendentalism and abstraction, by reason of its imaginary differ¬ ence from the world, must have imagined it had left the actual state of things and real human beings far below itself. On the other hand, it seems that because philosophy was not really dif¬ ferent from the world it could not pronounce any real judgment on it, it could not bring any real differentiating force to bear on it and could therefore not interfere practically, but had to be satisfied at most with a practice in abstracto. Philosophy was overpractical only in the sense that it soared above practice. Critical Criticism, by lumping humanity together in a spiritless mass, gives the most striking proof how infinitely small real human beings seem to speculation. In this the old speculation agrees with Critical Criticism, as the following sentence out of Hegel’s Rechtsphilosophie shows:

“From the standpoint of needs, it is the concrete object of the idea that is called man; therefore what we are concerned with here, and properly speaking only here, is man in this sense.”*

In other cases in which speculation speaks of man it does not mean the concrete, but the abstract, the idea, the spirit, etc. The way in which philosophy expresses the actual state of things is strikingly exemplified by Herr Faucher in connection with the actual English situation and by Herr Edgar in connec¬ tion with the actual situation of the French language.

“Thus Proudhon also is practical because, finding that the concept °f equality is the basis of the proofs in favour of property, he argues from the same concept against property.”

Proudhon here does exactly the same thing as the German critics who, finding that the proofs of the existence of God are based on the idea of man, argue from that idea against the existence of God.

  • G- W. F. Hegel, Grundlinien der Philosophic dts Rechts, § 190.

— Ed.




“If the consequences of the principle of equality are more power¬ ful than equality itself, how does Proudhon intend to help that prin¬ ciple to acquire its sudden power?”

Self-consciousness, according to Herr Bruno Bauer, lies at the basis of all religious ideas. It is, he says, the creative prin¬ ciple of the gospels. Why, then, were the consequences of the principle of self-consciousness more powerful than self-conscious¬ ness itself? Because, the answer comes after the German fashion, self-consciousness is indeed the creative principle of religious ideas, but only as self-consciousness outside itself, in contradic¬ tion to itself, alienated and estranged. Self-consciousness that has come to itself, that understands itself, that apprehends its essence, therefore governs the creations of its self-alienation. Proudhon finds himself in exactly the same case, with the differ¬ ence, of course, that he speaks French whereas we speak Ger¬ man, and he therefore expresses in a French way what we express in a German way.

Proudhon asks himself why equality, although as the cre¬ ative principle of reason it underlies the institution of property and as the ultimate rational foundation is the basis of all argu¬ ments in favour of property, nevertheless does not exist, while its negation, private property, does. He accordingly considers the fact of property in itself. He proves “that, in truth, prop¬ erty, as an institution and a principle, is impossible " a (p. 34), i.e., that it contradicts itself and abolishes itself in all points; that, to put it in the German way, it is the existence of allienat- ed, self-contradicting, self-estranged equality. The real state of things in France, like the recognition of this estrangement, sug¬ gests correctly to Proudhon the necessity of the real abolition of this estrangement.

While negating private property, Proudhon feels the need to justify the existence of private property historically. His argu¬ ment, like all first arguments of this kind, is pragmatic, i.e., he assumes that earlier generations wished consciously and with

a “Est impossible, mathematiquement ” (Proudhon, Qu’est-ce que la propriety?, p. 34).— Ed,


reflection to realise in their institutions that equality which for him represents the human essence.

“We always come back to the same thing.... Proudhon writes in the interest of the proletarians.”

He does not write in the interest of self-sufficient Criticism or out of any abstract, self-made interest, but out of a mass- type, real, historic interest, an interest that goes beyond criti¬ cism, that will go as far as a crisis. Not only does Proudhon write in the interest of the proletarians, he is himself a proletarian, an owner.* His work is a scientific manifesto of the French proletariat and therefore has quite a different historical signifi¬ cance from that of the literary botch-work of any Critical Critic.

“Proudhon writes in the interest of those who have nothing; to have and not to have are for him absolute categories. To have is for him the highest, because at the same time not to have is for him the highest object of thought. Every man ought to have, but no more or less than another, Proudhon thinks. But one should bear in mind that of all I have, only what I have exclusively, or what I have more of than other people have, is interesting for me. With equality, both to have and equality itself will be a matter of indifference to me.”

According to Herr Edgar, having and not having are for Proudhon absolute categories. Critical Criticism sees nothing but categories everywhere. Thus, according to Herr Edgar, having and not having, wages, salary, want and need, and work to satisfy that need, are nothing but categories.

If society had to free itself only from the categories of having and not having, how easy would the “overcoming” and “aboli¬ tion” of those categories be made for it by any dialectician, even if he were weaker than Herr Edgar! Indeed, Herr Edgar considers this such a trifle that he does not think it worth the trouble to give even an explanation of the categories of having and not having as an argument against Proudhon. But not having is not a mere category, it is a most dismal reality; today the man who has nothing is nothing, for he is cut off from existence ln general, and still more from a human existence, for the con¬ dition of not having is the condition of the complete separation of man from his objectivity. Therefore not having seems quite justi-

  • A worker.— Ed.


fied in being the highest object of thought for Proudhon; all the more since so little thought had been given to this subject prior to him and the socialist writers in general. Not having is the most despairing spiritualism, a complete unreality of the human being, a complete reality of the dehumanised being, a very positive hav¬ ing, a having of hunger, of cold, of disease, of crime, of debase¬ ment, of hebetude, of all inhumanity and abnormity. But every object which for the first time is made the object of thought with full consciousness of its importance is the highest object of thought.

Proudhon’s wish to abolish not having and the old way of having is quite identical with his wish to abolish the practically estranged relation of man to his objective essence and the eco¬ nomic expression of human self-estrangement. But since his criticism of political economy is still captive to the premises of political economy, the re-appropriation of the objective world itself is still conceived in the economic form of possession.

Proudhon does not oppose having to not having, as Critical Criticism makes him do; he opposes possession to the old way of having, to private property. He proclaims possession to be a “ social function”. What is “interesting” in a function, how¬ ever, is not to “exclude” the other person, but to affirm and to realise the forces of my own being.

Proudhon did not succeed in giving this thought appropriate development. The idea of “equal possession” is the economic and therefore itself still estranged expression for the fact that the object as being for man, as the objective being of man, is at the same time the existence of man for other men, his human relation to other men, the social behaviour of man to man. Proudhon abolishes economic estrangement within economic estrangement.

Characterising Translation No. 3

The Critical Proudhon has a Critical property-owner, too, according to whose

"own admission those who had to work for him lost what he appro¬ priated”.


The mass-type Proudhon says to the mass-type property- owner:

“You have worked! Ought you never to have let others work for you? How, then, have they lost while working for you, what you were able to acquire while not working for them?”

By “ richesse naturelle" ,* the Critical Proudhon makes Say understand “natural possessions ” although Say, to preclude any error, states explicitly in the Epitome to his Traite d’economie politique b that by richesse he understands neither property nor possession, but a “sum of values”. Of course, the Critical Proud¬ hon reforms Say just as he himself is reformed by Herr Edgar. He makes Say “infer immediately a right to take a field as prop¬ erty” because land is easier to appropriate than air or water. But Say, far from inferring from the greater possibility of appro¬ priating land a property right to it, says instead quite explicitly:

“Les droits des proprietaires de terres—remontent a une spolia¬ tion ,”c (Traite d’tconomie politique, Edition III, t. I, p. 136, Nota.)

That is why, in Say’s opinion, there must be “ concours de la legislation ” d and “ droit positif” c to provide a basis for the right to landed property. The real Proudhon does not make Say “immediately” infer the right of landed property from the easier appropriation of land. He reproaches him with basing himself on possibility instead of right and confusing the question of possi¬ bility with the question of right:

“Say prend la possibilit6 pour le droit. On ne demands pas pour- quoi la terre a 6te plutot appropri^e que la mer et les airs; on veut savoir, en vertu de quel droit l’homme s’est approprie cette richesse.”!

a “Natural wealth.”— Ed.

•> Treatise of Political Economy.— Ed.

c “The rights of landed proprietors are to be traced to plunder.” —Ed.

d “Co-operation of legislation.”— Ed. c “Positive right.”— Ed.

f “Say takes possibility for right. The question is not why land has been appropriated rather than sea or air, but by what right man has appropriated this wealth.”— Ed.


The Critical Proudhon continues:

“The only remark to be made on this is that with the appropria¬ tion of a piece of land the other elements—air, water and fire—are also appropriated: terra, aqua, aere et igne interdicti sumus .” a

Far from making “only" this remark, the real Proudhon says, on the contrary, that he draws “attention” to the appro¬ priation of air and water incidentally (en passant). The Critical Proudhon makes an unaccountable use of the Roman formula of banishment. He forgets to say who the “we" are who have been banished. The real Proudhon addresses the non-property- owners :

“Proletarians . . . property ex communicates us: terra, etc. interdicti sumus.”

The Critical Proudhon polemises against Charles Comte as follows:

“Charles Comte thinks that, in order to live, man needs air, food and clothing. Some of these things, like air and water, are inexhaustible and therefore always remain common property; but others are available in smaller quantities and become private property. Charles Comte therefore bases his proof on the concepts of limitedness and unlimited¬ ness; he would perhaps have come to a different conclusion had he made the concepts of dispensability and indispensability his main cate¬ gories.”

How childish the Critical Proudhon’s polemic is! He expects Charles Comte to give up the categories he uses for his proof and to jump over to others so as to come, not to his own con¬ clusions, but “perhaps" to those of the Critical Proudhon.

The real Proudhon does not make any such demands on Charles Comte; he does not dispose of him with a “perhaps”, but defeats him with his own categories.

Charles Comte, Proudhon says, proceeds from the indis¬ pensability of air, food, and, in certain climates, clothing, not in order to live, but in order not to stop living. Hence (ac¬ cording to Charles Comte) in order to maintain himself, man constantly needs to appropriate things of various kinds. These things do not all exist in the same proportion.

a We are banished from land, water, air and fire.— Ed.


“The light of the heavenly bodies, air and water exist in such quantities that man can neither increase nor decrease them appreciably; hence everyone can appropriate as much of them as his needs require, without prejudice to the enjoyment of others."*

Proudhon proceeds from Comte’s own definitions. First of all he proves to him that land is also an object of primary necessity, the usufruct of which must therefore remain free to everyone, within the limits of Comte’s clause, namely: “ without prejudice to the enjoyment of others .” Why then has land become private property? Charles Comte answers: because it is not unlimited. He should have concluded, on the contrary, that because land is limited it may not be appropriated. The appro¬ priation of air and water causes no prejudice to anybody because, as they are unlimited, there is always enough left. The arbitrary appropriation of land, on the other hand, prejudices the enjoy¬ ment of others precisely because the land is limited. The use of the land must therefore be regulated in the interests of all. Charles Comte’s method of proving refutes his own thesis.

“Charles Comte, so Proudhon” (the Critical one, of course) “rea¬ sons, proceeds from the view that a nation can be the owner of a land; yet if property involves the right to use and misuse— jus utendi et abutendi re sua —even a nation cannot be adjudged the right to use and misuse a land.”

The real Proudhon does not speak of jus utendi et abutendi that the right of property “involves". He is too mass-minded to speak of a right of property that the right of property involves. Jus utendi et abutendi re sua is, in fact, the right of property itself. Hence Proudhon directly refuses a people the right of property over its territory. To those who find that exaggerated, he replies that in all epochs the imagined right of national prop¬ erty gave rise to suzerainty, tribute, royal prerogatives, corvie, etc.

The real Proudhon reasons against Charles Comte as follows: Comte wishes to expound how property arises and he begins Wlt h the hypothesis of a nation as owner. He thus falls into a

  • The quotation from Comte’s Traili de la propriitS is given

according to Proudhon’s Qu’est-ce que la propriety?, p. 93.— Ed,


petitio principal He makes the state sell lands, he lets industrial¬ ists buy those estates, that is to say, he presupposes the prop¬ erty relations that he wishes to prove.

The Critical Proudhon scraps the French decimal system. He keeps the franc but replaces the centime by the “Dreier”. h

“If I cede a piece of land, Proudhon” (the Critical one) “con¬ tinues, I not only rob myself of one harvest; I deprive my children and children’s children of a lasting good. Land has value not only today, it has also the value of its capacity and its future.”

The real Proudhon does not speak of the fact that land has value not only today but also tomorrow: he contrasts the full present value to the value of its capacity and its future, which depends on my skill in exploiting the land. He says:

“Destroy the land, or, what comes to the same thing for you, sell it; you not only deprive yourself of one, two or more harvests; you annihilate all the produce you could have obtained from it, you, your children and your children’s children.”

For Proudhon the question is not one of stressing the con¬ trast between one harvest and the lasting good—the money I get for the field can, as capital, also become a “lasting good”— but the contrast between the present value and the value the land can acquire through continuous cultivation.

“The new value, Charles Comte says, that I give to a thing by my work is my property. Proudhon” (the Critical one) “thinks he can refute him in the following way: Then a man must cease to be a prop¬ erty-owner as soon as he ceases to work. Ownership of the product can by no means involve ownership of the material from which the product was made.”

The real Proudhon says:

“Let the worker appropriate the products of his work, but I do not understand how ownership of the products involves ownership of the matter. Does the fisherman who manages to catch more fish than the others on the same bank become by this skill the owner of the place where he fishes? Was the skill of a hunter ever considered a title to

  • The fallacy of seeking to prove a conclusion by presupposing it

as the premise.— Ed.

b A small coin worth three pfennigs.— Ed.


ownership of the game in a canton? The same applies to agriculture. In order to transform possession into property, another condition is necessary besides work, or a man would cease to be a property-owner as soon as he ceased to be a worker."

Cessante causa cessat effectus* When the owner is owner only as a worker, he ceases to be an owner as soon as he ceases to be a worker.

“According to law, it is prescription which creates ownership; work is only the perceptible sign, the material act by which occupa¬ tion is manifested.”

“The system of appropriation through work,” Proudhon goes on, “is therefore contrary to law; and when the supporters of that system put it forward as an explanation of the laws they are contradicting themselves."

To say further, according to this opinion, that the cultivation of the land, for example, "creates full ownership of the same” is a petitio principii. It is a fact that a new productive capacity of the matter has been created. But what has to be proved is that ownership of the matter itself has thereby been created. Man has not created the matter itself. And he cannot even create any productive capacity if the matter does not exist be¬ forehand.

The Critical Proudhon makes Gracchus Babeuf a partisan of freedom, but for the mass-minded Proudhon he is a partisan of equality (partisan de Vigalite).

The Critical Proudhon, who wanted to estimate Homer’s fee for the Iliad, says:

“The fee which I pay Homer should be equal to what he gives me. But how is the value of what he gives to be determined?”

The Critical Proudhon is too superior to the trifles of political economy to know that the value of an object and what that object gives somebody else are two different things. The real Proudhon says:

“The fee of the poet should be equal to his product : what then is the value of that product?”

3 When the cause ceases, the effect ceases.— Ed.


The real Proudhon supposes that the Iliad has an infinite price (or exchange value, prix), while the Critical Proudhon supposes that it has an infinite value. The real Proudhon coun¬ terposes the value of the Iliad, its value in the economic sense (valeur intrinseque), to its exchange value ( valeur e change able)] the Critical Proudhon counterposes its “value for exchange” to its “intrinsic value”, i.e., its value as a poem.

The real Proudhon says:

“Between material reward and talent there is no common mea¬ sure. In this respect the situation of all producers is the same. Con¬ sequently any comparison between them, any classification according to fortune is impossible.” (“Entre une recompense mat£rielle et le talent il n’existe pas de commune mesure; sous ce rapport la condition de tous les producteurs est £gale; cons6quemment toute comparaison entre eux et toute distinction de fortunes est impossible.”)

The Critical Proudhon says:

“ Relatively, the position of all producers is the same. Talent can¬ not be weighed materially.... Any comparison of the producers among themselves, any external distinction is impossible.”

In the Critical Proudhon we read that

“the man of science must feel himself equal in society, because his talent and his insight are only a product of the insight of society”.

The real Proudhon does not speak anywhere about the feelings of talent. He says that talent must lower itself to the level of society. Nor does he at all assert that the man of talent is only a product of society. On the contrary, he says:

“The man of talent has contributed to produce in himself a useful instrument.... There exist in him a free worker and an accumulated social capital.”

The Critical Proudhon goes on to say:

“Besides, he must be thankful to society for releasing him from other work so that he can apply himself to science.”

The real Proudhon nowhere resorts to the gratitude of the man of talent. He says:

“The artist, the scientist, the poet, receive their just reward by the mere fact that society allows them to apply themselves exclusively to science and art.”


Finally, the Critical Proudhon achieves the miracle of mak¬ ing a society of 150 workers able to maintain a “ marshal ” and, therefore, probably, an army. In the real Proudhon the marshal is a “ farrier ” (marechal).

Critical Comment No. 4

“If he” (Proudhon) “retains the concept of wages, if he sees in society an institution that gives us work and pays us for it, he has all the less right to recognise time as the measure for payment as he but shortly before, agreeing with Hugo Grotius, professed that time has no bearing on the validity of an object.”

This is the only point on which Critical Criticism attempts to solve its problem and to prove to Proudhon that from the standpoint of political economy he is arguing wrongly against political economy. Here Criticism disgraces itself in truly Criti¬ cal fashion.

Proudhon agrees with Hugo Grotius in arguing that pre¬ scription is no title to change possession into property or a “legal principle" into another principle, any more than time can change the truth that the three angles of a triangle are together equal to two right angles into the truth that they are equal to three right angles.

“Never,” exclaims Proudhon, “will you succeed in making length of time, which of itself creates nothing, changes nothing, modifies nothing, able to change the user into a proprietor.”

Herr Edgar’s conclusion is: since Proudhon said that mere time cannot change one legal principle into another, that by itself it cannot change or modify anything, he is inconsistent when he makes labour time the measure of the economic value of the product of labour. Herr Edgar achieves this Critically Critical remark by translating “ valeur ” a by “ Geltung" b so that he can use the word for validity of a legal principle in the same sense as for the commercial value of a product of labour. He achieves it by identifying empty length of time with time filled

a Value.— Ed. b Validity.— Ed.


with labour. Had Proudhon said that time cannot change a fly into an elephant, Critical Criticism could have said with the same justification: he has therefore no right to make labour time the measure of wages.

Even Critical Criticism must be capable of grasping that the labour time expended on the production of an object is includ¬ ed in the cost of production of that object, that the cost of production of an object is what it costs, and therefore what it can be sold for, abstraction being made of the influence of competition. Besides the labour time and the material of labour, economists include in the cost of production the rent paid to the owner of the land, interest and the profit of the capitalist. The latter are excluded by Proudhon because he excludes private property. Hence there remain only the labour time and the expenses. By making labour time, the immediate existence of human activity as activity, the measure of wages and the de¬ terminant of the value of the product, Proudhon makes the human side the decisive factor. In old political economy, on the other hand, the decisive factor was the material power of capital and of landed property. In other words, Proudhon reinstates man in his rights, but still in an economic and therefore contra¬ dictory way. How right he is from the standpoint of political economy can be seen from the fact that Adam Smith, the founder of modern political economy, in the very first pages of his book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, develops the idea that before the invention of pri¬ vate property, that is to say, presupposing the non-existence of private property, labour time was the measure of wages and of the value of the product of labour, which was not yet distin¬ guished from wages.

But even let Critical Criticism suppose for an instant that Proudhon did not proceed from the premise of wages. Does it believe that the time which the production of an object requires will ever not be an essential factor in the “ validity ” of the object? Does it believe that time will lose its costliness?

As far as immediate material production is concerned, the decision whether an object is to be produced or not, i.e., the


decision on the value of the object, will depend essentially on the labour time required for its production. For it depends on time whether society has time to develop in a human way.

And even as far as intellectual production is concerned, must I not, if I proceed reasonably in other respects, consider the time necessary for the production of an intellectual work when I determine its scope, its character and its plan? Other¬ wise I risk at least that the object that is in my idea will never become an object in reality, and can therefore acquire only the value of an imaginary object, i.e., an imaginary value.

The criticism of political economy from the standpoint of political economy recognises all the essential determinants of human activity, but only in an estranged, alienated form. Here, for example, it converts the importance of time for human labour into its importance for wages, for wage-labour.

Herr Edgar continues:

“In order to force talent to accept that measure, Proudhon mis¬ uses the concept of free contract and asserts that society and its indi¬ vidual members have the right to reject the products of talent.”

Among the followers of Fourier and Saint-Simon, talent puts forward exaggerated fee claims on an economic basis and makes its imagined notion of its infinite value the measure of the exchange value of its products. Proudhon answers it in exactly the same way as political economy answers any claim for a price much higher than the so-called natural price, that is, higher than the cost of production of the object offered. He answers by freedom of contract. But Proudhon does not misuse this re¬ lation in the sense of political economy; on the contrary, he assumes that to be real which the economists consider to be only nominal and illusory— the freedom of the contracting par¬ ties.

Characterising Translation No. 4

The Critical Proudhon finally reforms French society by as deep a transformation of the French proletarians as of the French bourgeoisie.


He denies the French proletarians “ strength ” because the real Proudhon reproaches them with a lack of virtue ( vertu ). He makes their skill in work problematic—“you are perhaps skilled in work”—because the real Proudhon unconditionally recognises it (“ prompts au travail vous etes ,” a etc.). He con¬ verts the French bourgeoisie into dull burghers whereas the real Proudhon counterposes the ignoble bourgeois ( bourgeois igno- bles) to the blemished nobles ( nobles fletris). He converts the bourgeois from happy-medium burghers (bourgeois juste-mi- lieu ) 18 into “our good burghers”, for which the French bour¬ geoisie can be grateful. Hence, where the real Proudhon says the “ill will” of the French bourgeoisie (la malveillance de nos bourgeois) is growing, the Critical Proudhon consistently makes the “carefreeness of our burghers” grow. The real Proudhon’s bourgeois is so far from being carefree that he calls out to himself: “ N’ayons pas peur! N’ayons pas peur!” h Those are the words of a man who wishes to reason himself out of fear and worry.

By creating the Critical Proudhon through its translation of the real Proudhon, Critical Criticism has revealed to the Mass what a Critically perfect translation is. It has given directions for “translation as it ought to be”. It is therefore rightly against bad, mass-type translations.

“The German public wants the booksellers’ wares ridiculously cheap, so the publisher needs a cheap translation; the translator does not want to starve at his work, he cannot even perform it with mature reflection” (with all the tranquillity of knowledge) “because the publisher must anticipate rivals by quick delivery of translations; even the translator has to fear competition, has to fear that someone else will produce the ware cheaper and quicker; he therefore dictates his manuscript offhand to some poor scribe—as quickly as he can in order not to pay the scribe his hourly wage for nothing. He is more than happy when he can next day adequately satisfy the harassing type-setter. For the rest, the translations with which we are flooded are but a manifestation of the present-day impotence of German literature”, etc. (Allgemeine Li- teratur-Zeitung, Heft VIII, p. 54. K )

a “You are smart at work.”— Ed.

b “Let us not be afraid! Let us not be afraid!”— Ed.


Critical Comment No. 5

“The proof of the impossibility of property that Proudhon draws from the fact that mankind ruins itself particularly by the interest and profit system and by the disproportion between consumption and production lacks its counterpart, namely, the proof that private property is historically possible.”

Critical Criticism has the fortunate instinct not to go into Proudhon’s reasoning on the interest and profit system, etc., i.e., into the most important part of his argument. The reason is that on this point not even a semblance of criticism of Proud¬ hon can be offered without absolutely positive knowledge of the movement of private property. Critical Criticism tries to make up for its impotence by observing that Proudhon has not proved the historical possibility of property. Why does Criticism, which has nothing but words to give, expect others to give it everything?

“Proudhon proves the impossibility of property by the fact that the worker cannot buy back the product of his work out of his wage. Proudhon does not give an exhaustive proof of this by expounding the essence of capital. The worker cannot buy back his product because it is always a joint product, whereas he is never anything but an individ¬ ual paid man.”

Herr Edgar, in contrast to Proudhon’s deduction, could have expressed himself still more exhaustively to the effect that the worker can not buy back his product because in general he must buy it back. The definition of buying already implies that he regards his product as an object that is no longer his, an es¬ tranged object. Among other things, Herr Edgar’s exhaustive argument does not exhaust the question why the capitalist, who himself is nothing but an individual man, and what is more, a man paid by profit and interest, can buy back not only the product of labour, but still more than this product. To explain this Herr Edgar would have to explain the relationship between labour and capital, that is, to expound the essence of capital.

The above quotation from Cridcism shows most palpably how Critical Criticism immediately makes use of what it has 5—1552


learnt from a writer to pass it off as wisdom it has itself disco¬ vered and use it with a Critical twist against the same writer. For it is from Proudhon himself that Critical Criticism drew the argument that it says Proudhon did not give and that Herr Edgar did. Proudhon says:

“Divide et impera . . . separate the workers from one another, and it is quite possible that the daily wage paid to each one may exceed the value of each individual product; but that is not the point at issue. . . . Although you have paid for all the individual powers you have still not paid for the collective power.”

Proudhon was the first to draw attention to the fact that the sum of the wages of the individual workers, even if each individual labour be paid for completely, does not pay for the collective power objectified in its product, that therefore the worker is not paid as a part of the collective labour power [gemeinschaftlichen Arbeitskraft ]. Herr Edgar twists this into the assertion that the worker is nothing but an individual paid man. Critical Criticism thus opposes a general thought of Proud¬ hon’s to the further concrete development that Proudhon himself gives to the same thought. It takes possession of this thought after the fashion of Criticism and expresses the secret of Critical socialism in the following sentence:

“The modem worker thinks only of himself, i.e., he allows himself to be paid only for his own person. It is he himself who fails to take into account the enormous, the immeasurable power which arises from his co-operation with other powers.”

According to Critical Criticism, the whole evil lies only in the workers’ “thinking”. It is true that the English and French workers have formed associations in which they exchange opin¬ ions not only on their immediate needs as workers, but on their needs as human beings. In their associations, moreover, they show a very thorough and comprehensive consciousness of the “enormous” and “immeasurable” power which arises from their co-operation. But these mass-minded, communist workers, employed, for instance, in the Manchester or Lyons workshops, do not believe that by “pure thinking” they will be able to argue away their industrial masters and their own practical



debasement. They are most painfully aware of the difference between being and thinking, between consciousness and life. They know that property, capital, money, wage-labour and the like are no ideal figments of the brain but very practical, very objective products of their self-estrangement and that therefore they must be abolished in a practical, objective way for man to become man not only in thinking, in consciousness, but in mass being, in life. Critical Criticism, on the contrary, teaches them that they cease in reality to be wage-workers if in think¬ ing they abolish the thought of wage-labour; if in thinking they cease to regard themselves as wage-workers and, in accord¬ ance with that extravagant notion, no longer let themselves be paid for their person. As absolute idealists, as ethereal beings, they will then naturally be able to live on the ether of pure thought. Critical Criticism teaches them that they abolish real capital by overcoming in thinking the category Capital, that they really change and transform themselves into real human beings by changing their “abstract ego ” in consciousness and scorning as an un-Critical operation all real change of their real existence, of the real conditions of their existence, that is to say, of their real ego. The “ spirit ”, which sees in reality only categories, naturally reduces all human activity and practice to the dialectical process of thought of Critical Criticism. That is what distinguishes its socialism from mass-type socialism and communism.

After his great argumentation, Herr Edgar must, of course, declare Proudhon’s criticism “devoid of consciousness”.

“Proudhon, however, wishes to be practical too.” “He thinks he has grasped.” “And nevertheless,” cries the tranquillity of knowledge trium¬ phantly, “we cannot even now credit him with the tranquillity of knowledge.” “We quote a few passages to show how little he has thought out his attitude to society.”

Later we shall also quote a few passages from the works of Critical Criticism (see the Bank for the Poor and the Model Farm)* to show that it has not yet become acquainted with the


See pp. 244-49 of this edition.— Ed.


most elementary economic relationships, let alone thought them out, and hence with its characteristic Critical tact has felt itself called upon to pass judgment on Proudhon.

Now that Critical Criticism as the tranquillity of knowledge has “made” all the mass-type “antitheses its concern”, has mas¬ tered all reality in the form of categories and dissolved all human activity into speculative dialectics, we shall see it pro¬ duce the world again out of speculative dialectics. It goes with¬ out saying that if the miracles of the Critically speculative creation of the world are not to be “desecrated”, they can be presented to the profane Mass only in the form of mysteries. Critical Criticism therefore appears in the incarnation of Vishnu- Szeliga as a mystery-monger.





“Critical Criticism” in its Szeliga-Vishnu incarnation pro¬ vides an apotheosis of the Mysteres de Paris. Eugene Sue is proclaimed a “Critical Critic”. Hearing this, he may exclaim like Moliere’s Bourgeois gentilhomme:

“Par ma foi, il y a plus de quarante ans que je dis de la prose, sans que j’en susse rien: et je vous suis le plus oblige du monde de m’avoir appris cela.” a

Herr Szeliga prefaces his criticism with an aesthetic prologue.

“The aesthetic prologue” gives the following explanation of the general meaning of the “Critical” epic and in particular of the Mysteres de Paris:

“The epic gives rise to the thought that the present in itself is nothing, and not only” ( nothing and not only!) “the eternal boundary between past and future, but” (nothing, and not only, but) “but the gap that separates immortality from transience and must continually be filled. . .. Such is the general meaning of the Myslires de Paris."

The “aesthetic prologue” further asserts that “if the Critic wished he could also be a poet".

The whole of Herr Szeliga’s criticism will prove that as¬ sertion. It is “ poetic fiction” in every respect.

It is also a product of “ free art” according to the definition °f the latter given in the “aesthetic prologue”—it “invents

a “Faith, I have been speaking prose for more than forty years without knowing it. I am infinitely grateful to you for telling me so.” (Moliere, Bourgeois gentilhomme, Act II, Scene 6.)— Ed.


something quite new, something that absolutely never existed before ”.

Finally, it is even a Critical epic, for it is “the gap that separates immortality”—Herr Szeliga’s Critical Criticism—from “transience”—Eugene Sue’s novel—and “must continually be filled”.

1. “The Mystery of Degeneracy in Civilisation" and “The Mystery of Rightlessness in the State"

Feuerbach, we know, conceived the Christian ideas of the Incarnation, the Trinity, Immortality, etc., as the mystery of the Incarnation, the mystery of the Trinity, the mystery of Im¬ mortality. Herr Szeliga conceives all present world conditions as mysteries. But whereas Feuerbach disclosed real mysteries, Herr Szeliga makes mysteries out of real trivialities. His art is not that of disclosing what is hidden, but of hiding what is disclosed.

Thus he proclaims as mysteries degeneracy ( criminals) within civilisation and rightlessness and inequality in the state. This means that socialist literature, which has revealed these myste¬ ries, is still a mystery to Herr Szeliga, or that he wants to convert the best-known findings of that literature into a private mystery of “Critical Criticism”.

We therefore need not go more deeply into Herr Szeliga’s discourse on these mysteries; we shall merely draw attention to a few of the most brilliant points.

“Before the law and the judge everything is equal, the high and the low, the rich and the poor. This proposition stands at the head of the credo of the state.”

Of the state? The credo of most states starts, on the con¬ trary, by making the high and the low, the rich and the poor unequal before the law.

“The gem-cutter Morel in his naive probity most clearly expresses the mystery” (the mystery of the antithesis of poor and rich) “when he says: If only the rich knew! If only the rich knew! The misfortune is that they do not know what poverty is.”


Herr Szeliga does not know that Eugene Sue commits an anachronism out of courtesy to the French bourgeoisie when he puts the motto of the burghers of Louis XIV’s time “Ah! si le roi le savait!”* in a modified form: “Ah! si le riche le sa- vait!” b into the mouth of the working man Morel who lived at the time of the Charte verite , 21 In England and France, at least, this naive relation between rich and poor has ceased to exist. There the scientific representatives of wealth, the econo¬ mists, have spread a very detailed understanding of the physical and moral misery of poverty. They have made up for that by proving that misery must remain because the present state of things must remain. In their solicitude they have even calculated the proportions in which the poor must be reduced in number by deaths for the good of the rich and for their own welfare.

If Eugene Sue depicts the taverns, hide-outs and language of criminals, Herr Szeliga discloses the “ mystery ” that what the “author” wanted was not to depict that language or those hide¬ outs, but

“to teach us the mystery of the mainsprings of evil, etc.” “It is pre¬ cisely in the most crowded places .. . that criminals feel at home.”

What would a natural scientist say if one were to prove to him that the bee’s cell does not interest him as a bee’s cell, that it has no mystery for one who has not studied it, because the bee “feels at home precisely” in the open air and on the flower? The hide-outs of the criminals and their language reflect the character of the criminal, they are part of his existence, their description is part of his description just as the description of the petite maison is part of the description of the femme galante.

For Parisians in general and even for the Paris police the hide-outs of criminals are such a “mystery” that at this very moment broad light streets are being laid out in the Cite to give the police access to them.

a “Ah! if the king knew it!”— Ed. b “Ah! if the rich knew it!”— Ed.


Finally, Eugene Sue himself states that in the descriptions mentioned above he was counting “ sur la curiosite craintive ” a of his readers. M. Eugene Sue has counted on the timid curios¬ ity of his readers in all novels. It is sufficient to recall Atar Gull , Salamandre, Plick and Plock, etc.

2. The Mystery of Speculative Construction

The mystery of the Critical presentation of the Mysteres de Paris is the mystery of speculative, of Hegelian con¬ struction. Once Herr Szeliga has proclaimed that “degeneracy w.ithin civilisation” and rightlessness in the state are “mys¬ teries”, i.e., has dissolved them in the category “ mystery ”, he lets “mystery” begin its speculative career. A few words will suffice to characterise speculative construction in general. Herr Szeliga’s treatment of the Mysteres de Paris will give the ap¬ plication in detail.

If from real apples, pears, strawberries and almonds I form the general idea “ Fruit ”, if I go further and imagine that my abstract idea “ Fruit ”, derived from real fruit, is an entity existing outside me, is indeed the true essence of the pear, the apple, etc., then—in the language of speculative philosophy— I am declaring that “Fruit” is the “Substance” of the pear, the ap¬ ple, the almond, etc. I am saying, therefore, that to be a pear is not essential to the pear, that to be an apple is not essential to the apple; that what is essential to these things is not their real existence, perceptible to the senses, but the essence that I have abstracted from them and then foisted on them, the es¬ sence of my idea— “Fruit”. I therefore declare apples, pears, almonds, etc., to be mere forms of existence, modi, of “Fruit”. My finite understanding supported by my senses does of course distinguish an apple from a pear and a pear from an almond, but my speculative reason declares these sensuous differences inessential and irrelevant. It sees in the apple the same as in the pear, and in the pear the same as in the almond, namely

On the timid curiosity.— Ed.


“Fruit”. Particular real fruits are no more than semblances whose true essence is “ the substance”— “Fruit”.

By this method one attains no particular wealth of defi¬ nition. The mineralogist whose whole science was limited to the statement that all minerals are really “the Mineral” would be a mineralogist only in his imagination. For every mineral the speculative mineralogist says “the Mineral”, and his science is reduced to repeating this word as many times as there are real minerals.

Having reduced the different real fruits to the one “fruit” of abstraction—“ the Fruit”, speculation must, in order to attain some semblance of real content, try somehow to find its way back from “the Fruit”, from the Substance to the diverse, ordinary real fruits, the pear, the apple, the almond, etc. It is as hard to produce real fruits from the abstract idea “the Fruit” as it is easy to produce this abstract idea from real fruits. Indeed, it is impossible to arrive at the opposite of an abstraction without relinquishing the abstraction.

The speculative philosopher therefore relinquishes the abstraction “ the Fruit”, but in a speculative, mystical fashion —with the appearance of not relinquishing it. Thus it is real¬ ly only in appearance that he rises above his abstraction. He argues somewhat as follows:

If apples, pears, almonds and strawberries are really noth¬ ing but “the Substance”, “the Fruit”, the question arises: Why does “the Fruit” manifest itself to me sometimes as an apple, sometimes as a pear, sometimes as an almond? Why this sem¬ blance of diversity which so obviously contradicts my specula¬ tive conception of Unity, “the Substance”, “the Fruit”?

This, answers the speculative philosopher, is because “the Fruit” is not dead, undifferentiated, motionless, but a living, self-differentiating, moving essence. The diversity of the ordinary fruits is significant not only for my sensuous under¬ standing, but also for “ the Fruit” itself and for speculative reason. The different ordinary fruits are different manifesta¬ tions of the life of the “ one Fruit”; they are crystallisations of the Fruit” itself. Thus in the apple “the Fruit” gives itself an


apple-like existence, in the pear a pear-like existence. We must therefore no longer say, as one might from the standpoint of the Substance: a pear is “ the Fruit”, and apple is “the Fruit”, an almond is “the Fruit”, but rather “ the Fruit” presents itself as a pear, “ the Fruit” presents itself as an apple, “the Fruit” presents itself as an almond; and the differences which distin¬ guish apples, pears and almonds from one another are the self¬ differentiations of “ the Fruit” and make the particular fruits different members of the life-process of “the Fruit”. Thus “the Fruit” is no longer an empty undifferentiated unity; it is one¬ ness as allness, as “ totality ” of fruits, which constitute an “or¬ ganically linked series of members”. In every member of that series “ the Fruit” gives itself a more developed, more explicit existence, until finally, as the “ summary ” of all fruits, it is at the same time the living unity which contains all those fruits dissolved in itself just as it produces them from within itself, just as, for instance, all the limbs of the body are constantly dissolved in and constantly produced out of the blood.

We see that if the Christian religion knows only one In¬ carnation of God, speculative philosophy has as many incarna¬ tions as there are things, just as it has here in every fruit an incarnation of the Substance, of the Absolute Fruit. The main interest for the speculative philosopher is therefore to produce the existence of the real ordinary fruits and to say in some mysterious way that there are apples, pears, almonds and rai¬ sins. But the apples, pears, almonds and raisins that we redis¬ cover in the speculative world are nothing but semblances of apples, semblances of pears, semblances of almonds and sem¬ blances of raisins, for they are moments in the life of “the Fruit”, this abstract creation of the mind, and therefore them¬ selves abstract creations of the mind. Hence what is delightful in this speculation is to rediscover all the real fruits there, but as fruits which have a higher mystical significance, which have grown out of the ether of your brain and not out of the mate¬ rial earth, which are incarnations of “the Fruit”, of the Abso¬ lute Subject. When you return from the abstraction, the super¬ natural creation of the mind, “ the Fruit”, to real natural fruits,


you give on the contrary the natural fruits a supernatural sig¬ nificance and transform them into sheer abstractions. Your main interest is then to point out the unity of “the Fruit” in all the manifestations of its life—the apple, the pear, the almond —that is, to show the mystical interconnection between these fruits, how in each one of them “the Fruit” realises itself by degrees and necessarily progresses, for instance, from its exis¬ tence as a raisin to its existence as an almond. Hence the value of the ordinary fruits no longer consists in their natural qualities, but in their speculative quality, which gives each of them a definite place in the life-process of “the Absolute Fruit”.

The ordinary man does not think he is saying anything extraordinary when he states that there are apples and pears. But when the philosopher expresses their existence in the spe¬ culative way he says something extraordinary. He perfoms a miracle by producing the real natural objects, the apple, the pear, etc., out of the unreal creation of the mind “the Fruit”, i.e.. by creating those fruits out of his own abstract reason, which he considers as an Absolute Subject outside himself, re¬ presented here as “ the Fruit”. And in regard to every object the existence of which he expresses, he accomplishes an act of creation.

It goes without saying that the speculative philosopher ac¬ complishes this continuous creation only by presenting univer¬ sally known qualities of the apple, the pear, etc., which exist in reality, as determining features invented by him, by giving the names of the real things to what abstract reason alone can create, to abstract formulas of reason, finally, by declaring his own activity, by which he passes from the idea of an apple to the idea of a pear, to be the self-activity of the Absolute Sub¬ ject, “the Fruit”.

In the speculative way of speaking, this operation is called comprehending Substance as Subject, as an inner process, as an Absolute Person, and this comprehension constitutes the es¬ sential character of Hegel’s method.

These preliminary remarks were necessary to make Herr Sze- liga intelligible. Only now, after dissolving real relations, e.g.,


law and civilisation, in the category of mystery and thereby making “ Mystery ” into Substance, does he rise to the true spec¬ ulative, Hegelian height and transforms “Mystery" into a self- existing Subject incarnating itself in real situations and persons so that the manifestations of its life are countesses, marquises, grisettes, porters, notaries, charlatans, and love intrigues, balls, wooden doors, etc. Having produced the category “ Mystery ” out of the real world, he produces the real world out of this category.

The mysteries of speculative construction in Herr Szeliga’s presentation will be all the more visibly disclosed as he has an indisputable double advantage over Hegel. On the one hand, Hegel with masterly sophistry is able to present as a pro¬ cess of the imagined creation of the mind itself, of the Abso¬ lute Subject, the process by which the philosopher through sensory perception and imagination passes from one subject to another. On the other hand, however, Hegel very often gives a real presentation, embracing the thing itself, within the spe¬ culative presentation. This real development within the specu¬ lative development misleads the reader into considering the speculative development as real and the real as speculative.

With Herr Szeliga both these difficulties vanish. His dialec¬ tics have no hypocrisy or dissimulation. He performs his tricks with the most laudable honesty and the most ingenuous straightforwardness. But then he nowhere develops any real content, so that his speculative construction is free from all disturbing accessories, from all ambiguous disguises, and appeals to the eye in its naked beauty. In Herr Szeliga we also see a brilliant illustration of how speculation on the one hand appar¬ ently freely creates its object a priori out of itself and, on the other hand, precisely because it wishes to get rid by sophistry of the rational and natural dependence on the object, falls into the most irrational and unnatural bondage to the object, whose most accidental and most individual attributes it is obliged to construe as absolutely necessary and general.


3. “The Mystery of Educated Society”

After leading us through the lowest strata of society, for example through the criminal’s taverns, Eugene Sue transports us to “ haute volee ”, a to a ball in the Quartier Saint-Germain.

This transition Herr Szeliga construes as follows:

“Mystery tries to evade examination by a ... twist: so far it appeared as the absolutely enigmatic, elusive and negative, in contrast to the true, real and positive; now it withdraws into the latter as its invisi¬ ble content. But by doing so it gives up the unconditional possibility 11 of becoming known.”

“Mystery” which has so far appeared in contrast to the “true”, the “real”, the “positive”, that is, to law and education, “now withdraws into the latter”, that is, into the realm of edu¬ cation. It is certainly a mystere for Paris, if not of Paris, that '‘haute volee" is the exclusive realm of education. Herr Sze¬ liga does not pass from the mysteries of the criminal world to those of aristocratic society; instead, “Mystery” becomes the “invisible content” of educated society, its real essence. It is “not a new twist ” of Herr Szeliga’s designed to enable him to proceed to further examination; “ Mystery ” itself takes this “new twist” in order to escape examination.

Before really following Eugene Sue where his heart leads him—to an aristocratic ball, Herr Szeliga resorts to the hypocrit¬ ical twists of speculation which makes a priori constructions.

“One can naturally foresee what a solid shell ‘Mystery’ will choose to hide in; it seems, in fact, that it is of insuperable impenetrability ... that ... hence it may be expected that in general ... nevertheless a new attempt to pick out the kernel is here indispensable.”

Enough. Herr Szeliga has gone so far that the

“metaphysical subject. Mystery, now steps forward, light, self-confident and jaunty”.

In order now to change aristocratic society into a “mystery”, Herr Szeliga gives us a few considerations on “ education ”. He presumes aristocratic society to have all sorts of qualities

a High society.— Ed.

b “Impossibility” in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung. — Ed.


that no man would look for in it, in order later to find the “mystery” that it does not possess those qualities. Then he pre¬ sents this discovery as the “mystery” of educated society. Herr Szeliga wonders, for example, whether “ general reason” (does he mean speculative logic?) constitutes the content of its “drawing-room talk”, whether “the rhythm and measure of love alone makes” it a “harmonious whole”, whether “what we call general education is the form of the general, the eternal, the ideal ”, i.e., whether what we call education is a metaphysical illusion. It is not difficult for Herr Szeliga to prophesy a priori in answer to his questions:

“It is to be expected, however .. , that the answer will be in the negative.”

In Eugene Sue’s novel, the transition from the low world to the aristocratic world is a normal transition for a novel. The disguises of Rudolph, Prince of Geroldstein, give him entry into the lower strata of society as his title gives him access to the highest circles. On his way to the aristocratic ball he is by no means engrossed in the contrasts of contemporary life; it is the contrasts of his own disguises that he finds piquant. He informs his obedient companions how extraordinarily interest¬ ing he finds himself in the various situations.

“Je trouve,” he says, “assez de piquant dans ces contrastes: un jour peintre en eventails, m’etablant dans un bouge de la rue aux Feves; ce matin commis marchand offrant un verre de cassis a Madame Pipelet, et ce soir . .. un des privilegies par la grace de dieu, qui regnent sur ce monde.” a

When Critical Criticism is ushered into the ball-room, it sings:

Sense and reason forsake me near,

In the midst of the potentates here!*>

a “I find these contrasts piquant enough: one day a painter of fans established in a hovel in the rue aux Feves-, this morning a sales¬ man offering a glass of black current wine to Madame Pipelet, and this evening .. . one of the privileged by the grace of God who reign over the world.”— Ed.

b A paraphrase of a couplet from Goethe’s Faust, Part I, Scene 6 (The Witches’ Kitchen). — Ed.


It pours forth in dithyrambs as follows:

“Here magic brings the brilliance of the sun at night, the verdure of spring and the splendour of summer in winter. We immediately feel in a mood to believe in the miracle of the divine presence in the breast of man, especially when beauty and grace uphold the conviction that we are in the immediate proximity of ideals.” (!!!)

Inexperienced, credulous Critical country parsonl Only your Critical ingenuousness can be raised by an elegant Paris¬ ian ball-room “to a mood” in which you believe in “the mira¬ cle of the divine presence in the breast of man”, and see in Parisian lionesses “immediate ideals” and angels corporeal!

In his unctuous naivety the Critical parson listens to the two “most beautiful among the beautiful”, Clemence d’Harville and Countess Sarah MacGregor. One can guess what he wishes to “ hear” from them:

“In what way we can be the blessing of beloved children and the fullness of happiness of a husband”!... “We hark ... we wonder ... we do not trust our ears.”

We secredy feel a malicious pleasure when the listening parson is disappointed. The ladies converse neither about “bles¬ sing”, nor “fullness”, nor “general reason”, but about “an in¬ fidelity of Madame d’Harville to her husband”.

We get the following naive revelation about one of the ladies, Countess MacGregor:

She was “enterprising enough to become mother to a child as the result of a secret marriage”.

Unpleasandy affected by the enterprising spirit of the Countess, Herr Szeliga has sharp words for her:

“We find that all the strivings of the Countess are for her per¬ sonal, selfish advantage.”

Indeed, he expects nothing good from the attainment of her purpose—marriage to the Prince of Geroldstein:

concerning which we can by no means expect that she will avail her¬ self of it for the happiness of the Prince of Geroldstein’s subjects .”


The puritan ends his admonitory sermon with “profound earnestness”:

“Sarah” (the enterprising lady), “ incidentally, is hardly an excep¬ tion in this brilliant circle, although she is one of its summits.”

Incidentally, hardly! Although! And is not the “summit” of a circle an exception?

Here is what we learn about the character of two other ideals, the Marquise d’Harville and the Duchess of Lucenay:

They “ ‘lack satisfaction of the heart’. They have not found in marriage the object of love, so they seek it outside marriage. In marriage, love has remained a mystery for them, and the imperative urge of the heart drives them to unravel this mystery. So they give themselves up to secret love. These ‘victims’ of ‘loveless marriage’ are ‘driven against their will to debase love to something external, to a so-called affair, and take the romantic, the secrecy, for the internal, the vivifying, the essential element of love’ ”,

The merit of this dialectical reasoning is to be assessed all the higher as it is of more general application.

He, for example, who is not allowed to drink at home and yet feels the need to drink looks for the “object” of drinking “ outside” the house, and “so” takes to secret drinking. Indeed, he will be driven to consider secrecy an essential ingredient of drinking, although he will not debase drink to a mere “exter¬ nal” indifferent thing, any more than those ladies did with love. For, according to Herr Szeliga himself, it is not love, but marriage without love, that they debase to what it really is, to something external, to a so-called affair.

Herr Szeliga goes on to ask: “What is the ‘mystery’ of love?”

We have just had the speculative construction that “mys¬ tery” is the “ essence ” of this kind of love. How is it that we now come to be looking for the mystery of the mystery, the essence of the essence?

“Not the shady paths in the thickets,” declaims the parson, “not the natural semi-obscurity of moonlight night nor the artificial semi¬ obscurity of costly curtains and draperies; not the soft and enrapturing notes of the harps and the organs, not the attraction of what is for¬ bidden. .. .”


Curtains and draperies! Soft and enrapturing notes! Even the organ ! Let the reverend parson stop thinking of churchl Who would bring an organ to a love tryst?

“All this” (curtains, draperies and organs) “is only the mysterious."

And is not the mysterious the “mystery” of mysterious love? By no means:

“The mysterious in it is what excites, what intoxicates, what en¬ raptures, the power of sensuality.”

In the “soft and enrapturing ” notes, the parson already had what enraptures. Had he brought turtle soup and champagne to his love tryst instead of curtains and organs, the “ exciting and intoxicating” would have been present too.

“It is true we do not like to admit,” the reverend gentleman argues, “the power of sensuality; but it has such tremendous power over us only because we cast it out of us and will not recognise it as our own nature, which we should then be in a position to dominate if it tried to assert itself at the expense of reason, of true love and of will-power.”

The parson advises us, after the fashion of speculative theol¬ ogy, to recognise sensuality as our own nature, in order after¬ wards to be able to dominate it, i.e., to retract recognition of it. True, he wishes to dominate it only when it tries to assert itself at the expense of Reason —will-power and love as opposed to sensuality are only the will-power and love of Reason. The unspeculative Christian also recognises sensuality as long as it does not assert itself at the expense of true reason, i.e., of faith, of true love, i.e., of love of God, of true will¬ power, i.e., of will in Christ.

The parson immediately betrays his real meaning when he continues:

“If then love ceases to be the essential element of marriage and of morality in general, sensuality becomes the mystery of love, of mo¬ rality, of educated society—sensuality both in its narrow meaning, in which it is a trembling in the nerves and a burning stream in the veins, and in the broader meaning, in which it is elevated to a semblance of spiritual power, to lust for power, ambition, craving for glory.... Countess MacGregor represents” the latter meaning "of sensuality as the mystery of educated society.”



The parson hits the nail on the head. To overcome sensual¬ ity he must first of all overcome the nerve currents and the quick circulation of the blood. —Herr Szeliga believes in the “narrow” meaning that greater warmth in the body comes from the heat of the blood in the veins; he does not know that warm-blooded animals are so called because the temperature of their blood, apart from slight modifications, always remains at a constant level.—As soon as there is no more nerve current and the blood in the veins is no longer hot, the sinful body, this seat of sensual lust, becomes a corpse and the souls can converse unhindered about “general reason”, “true love”, and “pure morals”. The parson debases sensuality to such an extent that he abolishes the very elements of sensual love which inspire it —the rapid circulation of the blood, which proves that man does not love by insensitive phlegm; the nerve currents which connect the organ that is the main seat of sensuality with the brain. He reduces true sensual love to the mechanical secretio seminis and lisps with a notorious German theologian:

“Not for the sake of sensual love, not for the lust of the flesh, but because the Lord said: Increase and multiply.”

Let us now compare the speculative construction with Eugene Sue’s novel. It is no sensuality which is presented as the secret of love, but mysteries, adventures, obstacles, fears, dangers, and especially the attraction of what is forbidden.

“Pourquoi,” says Eugene Sue, “beaucoup de femmes prennent- elles pourtant des hommes qui ne valent pas leurs maris? Parce que le plus grand charme de Vamour est l’attrait affriandant du fruit defendu . . . avancez que, en retranchant de cet amour les craintes, les angoisses, les difficultes, les mysteres, les dangers, il ne reste rien ou peu de chose, c’est-a-dire, l’amant . . . dans sa simplicity premiere . . . en un mot, ce serait toujours plus ou moins l’aventure de cet homme a qui l’on disait: ‘Pourquoi n’epousez-vous done pas cette veuve, votre maitresse?’—‘Helas, j’y ai bien pense’—repondit-il—‘mais aiors je ne saurais plus ou aller passer mes soirees.’ ” a

a “Why do many women take as lovers men who are of less worth than their husbands? Because the greatest charm of love is the tempting attraction of the forbidden fruit.... Grant that if the fears, anxieties, difficulties, mysteries and dangers are taken away from that


Whereas Herr Szeliga says explicitly that the mystery of love is not in the attraction of what is forbidden, Eugene Sue says just as explicitly that it is the “greatest charm of love” and the reason for all love adventures extra muros.

“La prohibition et la contrebande sont inseparables en amour com- me en marchandise.”®

Eugene Sue similarly maintains, contrary to his speculative commentator, that

“the propensity to pretence and craft, the liking for mysteries and intrigues, is an essential quality, a natural propensity and an imperative instinct of woman’s nature”.

The only thing which embarrasses Eugene Sue is that this propensity and this liking are directed against marriage. He would like to give the instincts of woman’s nature a more harm¬ less, more useful application.

Herr Szeliga makes Countess MacGregor a representa¬ tive of the kind of sensuality which “is elevated to a semblance of spiritual power”, but in Eugene Sue she is a person of abstract reason. Her “ambition” and her “pride”, far from being forms of sensuality, are born of an abstract reason which is completely independent of sensuality. That is why Eugene Sue explicitly notes that

“the fiery impulses of love could never make her icy breast heave; no surprise of the heart or the senses could upset the pitiless calculations of this crafty, selfish, ambitious woman”.

This woman’s essential character lies in the egoism of ab¬ stract reason that never suffers from the sympathetic senses and on which the blood has no influence. Her soul is therefore

love nothing or very little remains, that is to say, the lover ... in his original simplicity ... in a word, it would always be more or less the adventure of the man who was asked, ‘Why do you not marry that widow, your mistress?’ ‘Alas, I have thought a good deal about that,’ lt e answered, ‘but then I would not know where to spend my eve¬ nings.’ "—Ed.

a “Prohibition and smuggling are as inseparable in love as in trade.”— Ed.


described as “dry and hard”, her mind as “artfully wicked”, her character as “treacherous” and—what is very typical of a person of abstract reason—as “absolute” her dissimulation as “profound”.—It is to be noted incidentally that Eugene Sue motivates the career of the Countess just as stupidly as that of most of his characters. An old nurse gives her the idea that she must become a “crowned head”. Convinced of this, she under¬ takes journeys to capture a crown through marriage. Finally she commits the inconsistency of considering a petty German “ Serenissimus ” a as a “crowned head”.

After his outpourings against sensuality, our Critical saint deems it necessary to show why Eugene Sue introduces us to haute volee at a ball, a method which is used by nearly all French novelists, whereas the English do so more often at the chase or in a country mansion.

“For this” (i.e., Herr Szeliga’s) “conception it cannot be indifferent there” (in Herr Szeliga’s construction) “and merely accidental that Eugene Sue introduces us to high society at a ball.”

Now the horse has been given a free rein and it trots brisk¬ ly towards the necessary end through a series of conclusions reminding one of the late Wolff.

"Dancing is the most common manifestation of sensuality as a mys¬ tery. The immediate contact, the embracing of the two sexes” (?) “necessary to form a couple are allowed in dancing because, in spite of appearances, and the really” (really, Mr. Parson?) “perceptible pleasant sensation, it is not considered as sensual contact and embracing” (but probably as connected with universal reason?).

And then comes a closing sentence which at best staggers rather than dances:

“For if it were in actual fact considered as such it would be impos¬ sible to understand why society is so lenient only as regards dancing while it, on the contrary, so severely condemns that which, if exhibited with similar freedom elsewhere, incurs branding and merciless casting out as a most unpardonable offence against morals and modesty.”

The title for a German prince.— Ed.


The reverend parson speaks here neither of the cancan nor of the polka, but of dancing in general, of the category Dancing, which is not performed anywhere except in his Critical cranium. Let him see a dance at the Chaumiere in Paris, and his Christian- German soul would be outraged by the boldness, the frankness, the graceful petulance and the music of that most sensual move¬ ment. His own “really perceptible pleasant sensation” would make it “perceptible” to him that “in actual fact it would be impossible to understand why the dancers themselves, while on the contrary they” give the spectator the uplifting impression of frank human sensuality—“which, if exhibited in the same way elsewhere”—namely, in Germany—“would be severely condemned as an unpardonable offence”, etc., etc.—why those dancers, at least so to speak in their own eyes, not only should not and may not, but of necessity cannot and must not be frankly sensual human beings!!

The Critic introduces us to the ball for the sake of the essence of dancing. He encounters a great difficulty. True, there is danc¬ ing at this ball, but only in imagination. The fact is that Eugene Sue does not say a word describing the dancing. He does not mix among the throng of dancers. He makes use of the ball only as an opportunity for bringing together his characters from the upper aristocracy. In despair, “Criticism” comes to help out and supplement the author, and its own “fancy” easily provides a description of ball incidents, etc. If, as prescribed by Criticism, Eugene Sue was not directly interested in the criminals’ hide¬ outs and language when he described them, the dance, on the other hand, which not he but his “fanciful” Critic describes, necessarily interests him infinitely.

Let us continue.

“Actually, the secret of sociable tone and tact—the secret of that extremely unnatural thing—is the longing to return to nature. That is "hy the appearance of a person like Cecily in educated society has such a n electrifying effect and is crowned with such extraordinary success. She grew up a slave among slaves, without any education, and the °nlv source of life she has to rely upon is her nature. Suddenly trans¬ ported to a court and subjected to its constraint and customs, she soon learns to see through the secret of the latter.... In this sphere, which


she can undoubtedly hold in sway because her power, the power of her nature, has an enigmatic magic, Cecily must necessarily stray into losing all sense of measure, whereas formerly, when she was still a slave, the same nature taught her to resist any unworthy demand of the power¬ ful master and to remain true to her love. Cecily is the mystery of edu¬ cated society disclosed. The scorned senses finally break down the barriers and surge forth completely uncurbed”, etc.

Those of Herr Szeliga’s readers who have not read Sue’s novel will certainly think that Cecily is the lioness of the ball that is described. In the novel she is in a German gaol while the dancing goes on in Paris.

Cecily, as a slave, remains true to the Negro doctor David because she loves him “passionately” and because her owner, Mr. Willis, is “ brutal ” in courting her. The reason for her change to a dissolute life is a very simple one. Transported into the “European world”, she “blushes” at being “married to a Negro”. On arriving in Germany she is “at once ” seduced by a wicked man and her “Indian blood” comes into its own. This the hypo¬ critical M. Sue, for the sake of douce morale a and doux com¬ merce, b is bound to describe as “pervesite naturelle , ' c .

The secret of Cecily is that she is a half-breed. The secret of her sensuality is the heat of the tropics. Parny sang praises of the half-breed in his beautiful lines to Eleonore. d Over a hundred sea-faring tales tell us how dangerous she is to sailors.

“Cecily etait le type incame de la sensualite brulante, qui ne s’al- lume qu’au feu des tropiques. . . . Tout le monde a entendu parler de ces filles de couleur, pour ainsi dire mortelles aux Europeens, de ces vam- pyrs enchanteurs, qui, enivrant leurs victimes de seductions terribles . .. ne lui laissent, selon l’energique expression du pays, que ses larmes a boire, que son coeur a ronger.” e

3 Sweet morality.— Ed. b Tender commerce.— Ed. c “Natural perversity.”— Ed. d E. D. Parny, Poesies irotiques. — Ed.

' “Cecily was the incarnation of the burning sensuality which only the heat of the tropics can kindle. . .. Everybody has heard of those coloured girls who are fatal, so to speak, to Europeans; of those charm¬ ing vampires who intoxicate their victim with terrible seductions . . • and leave him nothing, as the forceful expression of the country says, but his tears to drink and his heart to gnaw.”— Ed.


Cecily was far from producing such a magical effect precisely on people aristocratically educated, blase. ..

“les femmes de l’espece de Cecily exercent une action soudaine, une omnipotence magique sur les hommes de sensualite brutale tels que Jacques Ferrand ”. a

Since when have men like Jacques Ferrand been representa¬ tive of fine society? But Critical Criticism must speculatively make Cecily a factor in the life-process of Absolute Mystery.

4. “The Mystery of Probity and Piety”

“Mystery , as that of educated society, withdraws, it is true , from the antithesis into the inner sphere. Nevertheless, high society once again has exclusively its own circles in which it preserves the holy. It is, as it were, the chapel for this holy of holies. But for people in the forecourt, the chapel itself is the mystery. Education, therefore, in its exclusive posi¬ tion is the same thing for the people ... as vulgarity is for the educated.”

It is true, nevertheless, once again, as it were, but, therefore —those are the magic hooks which hold together the links of the chain of speculative reasoning. Herr Szeliga has made Mystery withdraw from the world of criminals into high society. Now he has to construct the mystery that high society has its exclusive circles and that the mysteries of those circles are myste¬ ries for the people. Besides the magic hooks already mentioned, this construction requires the transformation of a circle into a chapel and the transformation of non-aristocratic society into a forecourt of that chapel. Again it is a mystery for Paris that all the spheres of bourgeois society are only a forecourt of the chapel of high society.

Herr Szeliga pursues two aims. Firstly, Mystery which has become incarnate in the exclusive circle of high society must be declared “ common property of the world”. Secondly, the notary Jacques Ferrand must be construed as a link in the life of Mystery. Here is the way Herr Szeliga reasons:

a “Women of the type of Cecily have a sudden effect, a magic om¬ nipotence over men of brutal sensuality like Jacques Ferrand.” — Ed.


“Education as yet is unable and unwilling to bring all estates and distinctions into its circle. Only Christianity and morality are able to found universal kingdoms on earth.”

Herr Szeliga identifies education, civilisation, with aristocratic education. That is why he cannot see that industry and trade found universal kingdoms quite different from Christianity and morality, domestic happiness and civic welfare. But how do we come to the notary Jacques Ferrand? Quite simply!

Herr Szeliga transforms Christianity into an individual qual¬ ity, “ piety ”, and morality into another individual quality, “pro¬ bity”. He combines these two qualities in one individual whom he christens Jacques Ferrand, because Jacques Ferrand does not possess these two qualities but only pretends to. Thus Jacques Ferrand becomes the “mystery of probity and piety”. His “testa¬ ment”, on the other hand, is “the mystery of seeming piety and probity”, and therefore no longer of piety and probity themselves. If Critical Criticism had wanted speculatively to construe this testament as a mystery, it should have declared the seeming probity and piety to be the mystery of this testament, and not the other way round, this testament as the mystery of the seem¬ ing probity.

Whereas the Paris college of notaries considered Jacques Ferrand as a malicious libel against itself and through the theat¬ rical censorship had this character removed from the stage per¬ formance of the Mysteres de Paris, Critical Criticism, at the very time when it “polemises against the airy kingdom of concep¬ tions ”, sees in a Paris notary not a Paris notary but religion and morality, probity and piety. The trial of the notary Lehon ought to have taught it better. The position held by the notary in Eugene Sue’s novel is closely connected with his official position.

“Les notaires sont au temporal ce qu’au spirituel sont les cures; ils sont les dipositaires de nos secrets ”» (Monteil, Hist[oire] des frangais des divfers] etats, etc., t. IX, p. 37).

The notary is the secular confessor. He is a puritan by profes-

  • “Notaries are in the temporal realm what priests are in the spi¬

ritual: they are the depositories of our secrets." — Ed.



sion, and “honesty”, Shakespeare says, is “no Puritan ”. 8 He is at the same time the go-between for all possible purposes, the ma¬ nager of all civil intrigues and plots.

With the notary Ferrand, whose whole mystery consists in his hypocrisy and his profession, we do not seem to have made a single step forward yet. But listen:

“If for the notary hypocrisy is a matter of the most complete con¬ sciousness, and for Madame Roland it is, as it were, instinct, then be¬ tween them there is the great mass of those who cannot get to the bottom of the mystery and yet involuntarily feel a desire to do so. It is therefore not superstition that leads the high and the low to the sombre dwelling of the charlatan Bradamanti (Abbe Polidori); no, it is the search for Mystery, to justify themselves to the world.”

“The high and the low” flock to Polidori not to find out a definite mystery which is justified to the whole world, but to look for Mystery in general, Mystery as the Absolute Subject, in order to justify themselves to the world; as if to chop wood one looked, not for an axe, but for the Instrument in abstracto.

All the mysteries that Polidori possesses are limited to a means for abortion and a poison for murder.—In a speculative frenzy Herr Szeliga makes the “ murderer ” resort to Polidori’s poison “because he wants to be not a murderer, but respected, loved and honoured”. As if in an act of murder it was a question of respect, love or honour and not of one’s neck\ But the Critical murderer does not bother about his neck, but only about "Mys¬ tery". —As not everyone commits murder or becomes pregnant illegitimately, how is Polidori to put everyone in the desired possession of Mystery? Herr Szeliga probably confuses the char¬ latan Polidori with the scholar Polydore Virgil who lived in the sixteenth century and who, although he did not discover any mysteries, tried to make the history of those who did, the inven¬ tors, the “common property of the world” (see Polidori Virgilii liber de rerum inventoribus, Lugduni MDCCVI).

Mystery, Absolute Mystery, as it has finally established itself as the “common property of the world”, consists therefore in the

Shakespeare, All’s Well that Ends Well, Act I, Scene 3.— Ed.


mystery of abortion and poisoning. Mystery could not make itself “the common property of the world” more skilfully than by turning itself into mysteries which are mysteries to no one.

5. “Mystery, a Mockery”

“Mystery has now become common property, the mystery of the whole world and of every individual. Either it is my art or my in¬ stinct, or I can buy it as a purchasable commodity.”

What mystery has now become the common property of the world? Is it the mystery of rightlessness in the state, or the mys¬ tery of educated society, or the mystery of adulterating wares, or the mystery of making eau-de-cologne, or the mystery of “Crit¬ ical Criticism”? None of all these, but Mystery in abstracto, the category Mystery!

Herr Szeliga intends to depict the servants and the porter Pipelet and his wife as the incarnation of Absolute Mystery. He wants speculatively to construct the servant and the porter of "Mystery”. How does he manage to make the headlong descent from pure category down to the " servant” who “ spies at a locked door”, from Mystery as the Absolute Subject, which is enthroned above the roof in the cloudy heavens of abstraction, down to the ground floor where the porter’s lodge is situated?

First he subjects the category Mystery to a speculative process. When by the aid of means for abortion and poisoning Mystery has become the common property of the world, it is

“therefore by no means any longer concealment and inaccessibility itself, but it conceals itself, or better still” (always better!) “I conceal it, I make it inaccessible”.

With this transformation of Absolute Mystery from essence into concept, from the objective stage, in which it is conceal¬ ment itself, into the subjective stage, in which it conceals itself, or better still, in which I conceal it, we have not made a single step forward. On the contrary, the difficulty seems to grow, for a mystery in man’s head or breast is more inaccessible and con-


cealed than at the bottom of the sea. That is why Herr Szeliga comes to the aid of his speculative progress directly by means of an empirical progress.

"It is behind locked doors ”—hark! hark!—“that henceforth” —hence¬ forth!—“ Mystery is hatched, brewed and perpetrated.”

Herr Szeliga has “ henceforth ” changed the speculative ego of Mystery into a very empirical, very wooden reality—a door.

“But with that” —i.e., with the locked door, not with the transition from the closed essence to the concept—“there exists also the possibility of my overhearing, eavesdropping, and spying on it.”

It is not Herr Szeliga who discovered the “mystery” that one can eavesdrop at locked doors. The mass-type proverb even says that walls have ears. On the other hand it is a quite Critical speculative mystery that only “ henceforth ”, after the descent into the hell of the criminals’ hide-outs and the ascent into the heaven of educated society, and after Polidori’s miracles, mysteries can be brewed behind locked doors and overheard through closed doors. It is just as great a Critical mystery that locked doors are a categorical necessity for hatching, brewing and perpetrating mysteries—how many mysteries are hatched, brewed and perpe¬ trated behind bushes!—as well as for spying them out.

After this brilliant dialectical feat of arms, Herr Szeliga na¬ turally goes on from spying itself to the reasons for spying. Here he reveals the mystery that malicious gloating is the reason for it. From malicious gloating he goes on to the reason for mali¬ cious gloating.

“Everyone wishes to be better than the others,” he says, “because he keeps secret the mainsprings not only of his good actions, but of his bad ones too, which he tries to hide in impenetrable darkness.”

The sentence should be the other way round: Everyone not only keeps the mainsprings of his good actions secret, but tries to conceal his bad ones in impenetrable darkness because he wishes to be better than the others.

Thus it seems we have gone from Mystery that conceals itself to the ego that conceals it, from the ego to the locked door, from


the locked door to spying, from spying to the reason for spying, malicious gloating; from malicious gloating to the reason for ma¬ licious gloating, the desire to be better than the others. We shall soon have the pleasure of seeing the servant standing at the locked door. For the general desire to be better than the others leads us directly to this: that “everyone is inclined to find out the mysteries of another”, and this is followed easily by the witty remark:

“In this respect servants have the best opportunity."

Had Herr Szeliga read the records from the Paris police ar¬ chives, Vidocq’s memoirs, the Livre noir a and the like, he would know that in this respect the police has still greater opportunity than the “best opportunity” that servants have; that it uses ser¬ vants only for crude jobs, that it does not stop at the door or where the masters are in neglige, but creeps under their sheets next to their naked body in the shape of a femme galante or even of a legitimate wife. In Sue’s novel the police spy “Bras rouge ” plays a leading part in the story.

What “henceforth” annoys Herr Szeliga in servants is that they are not “ disinterested ” enough. This Critical misgiving leads him to the porter Pipelet and his wife.

“The porter’s position, on the other hand, gives him relative inde¬ pendence so that he can pour out free, disinterested, although vulgar and injurious, mockery on the mysteries of the house.”

At first this speculative construction of the porter is put into a great difficulty because in many Paris houses the servant and the porter are one and the same person for some of the tenants.

The following facts will enable the reader to form an opinion of the Critical fantasy concerning the relatively independent, dis¬ interested position of the porter. The porter in Paris is the rep¬ resentative and spy of the landlord. He is generally paid not by the landlord but by the tenants. Because of that precarious

3 Black book.— Ed.


position he often combines the functions of commission agent with his official duties. During the Terror, the Empire and the Restoration, the porter was one of the main agents of the secret police. General Foy, for instance, was watched by his por¬ ter, who took all the letters addressed to the general to be read by a police agent not far away (see Froment, La police devoilee). As a result, “ portier ” a and “ epicier ” b are consid¬ ered insulting names and the porter prefers to be called “con¬ cierge" . c

Far from being depicted as “disinterested” and harmless, Eugene Sue’s Madame Pipelet immediately cheats Rudolph when giving him his change; she recommends to him the dishonest money-lender living in the house and describes Rigolette to him as an acquaintance who may be pleasant to him. She teases the major because he pays her badly and haggles with her—in her vexation she calls him a “ commandant de deux liards" A —“ca t’apprendra a ne donner que douze francs par mois pour ton menage ” e —and because he has the “petitesse" { as to keep a check on his firewood, etc. She herself gives the reason for her “independent” behaviour: the major only pays her twelve francs a month.

According to Herr Szeliga, “Anastasia Pipelet has, to some extent, to declare a small war on Mystery ”.

According to Eugene Sue, Anastasia Pipelet is a typical Paris Portiere. He wants “to dramatise the Portifre, whom Henri Mo- nier portrayed with such mastery”. But Herr Szeliga feels bound to transform one of Madame Pipelet’s qualities—“ medisance ”*■— into a separate being and then to make her a representative of that being.

a Porter.— Ed. b Grocer.— Ed. c Caretaker.— Ed. d A twopenny major.— Ed.

« That’ll teach you to give only twelve francs a month for your housekeeping.— Ed. f Pettiness.— Ed. s Backbiting.— Ed.


“The husband,” Herr Szeliga continues, “the porter Alfred Pipelet, helps her, but with less luck.”

To console him for this bad luck, Herr Szeliga makes him also into an allegory. He represents the “ objective ” side of Mys¬ tery, “Mystery as Mockery".

“The mystery which defeats him is a mockery, a joke, that is played on him.”

Indeed, in its infinite pity divine dialectic makes the “un¬ happy, old, childish man” a “strong man ” in the metaphysical sense , by making him represent a very worthy, very happy and very decisive factor in the life-process of Absolute Mystery. The victory over Pipelet is

“ Mystery’s most decisive defeat." “A cleverer, courageous man would not let himself be duped by a joke."

6. Turtle-Dove (Rigolette)

“There is still one step left. Through its own consistent develop¬ ment, Mystery, as we saw in Pipelet and Cabrion, is driven to debase itself to mere clowning. The one thing necessary now is that the individ¬ ual should no longer agree to play that silly comedy. Turtle-dove takes that step in the most nonchalant way in the world.”

Anyone in two minutes can see through the mystery of this speculative clowning and learn to practise it himself. We will give brief directions in this respect.

Problem. You must give me the speculative construction showing how man becomes master over animals.

Speculative solution. Given are half a dozen animals, such as the lion, the shark, the snake, the bull, the horse and the pug. From these six animals abstract the category: the “Animal”. Imagine the “Animal” to be an independent being. Regard the lion, the shark, the snake, etc., as disguises, incarnations, of the “Animal”. Just as you made your imagination, the “Animal” of your abstraction, into a real being, now make the real animals into beings of abstraction, of your imagination. You see that


the “Animal”, which in the lion tears man to pieces, in the shark swallows him up, in the snake stings him with venom, in the bull tosses him with its horns and in the horse kicks him, only barks at him when it presents itself as a pug, and converts the fight against man into the mere semblance of a fight. Through its own consistent development, the “Animal” is driven, as we have seen in the pug, to debase itself to a mere clown. When a child or a childish man runs away from a pug, the only thing is for the individual no longer to agree to play the silly comedy. The in¬ dividual X takes this step in the most nonchalant way in the world by using his bamboo cane on the pug. You see how “ Man ”, through the agency of the individual X and the pug, has become master over the “Animal”, and consequently over animals, and in the Animal as a pug has defeated the lion as an animal.

Similarly Herr Szeliga’s “turtle-dove” defeats the mysteries of the present state of the world through the intermediary of Pipe- let and Cabrion. More than that! She is herself a manifesta¬ tion of the category “Mystery”.

“She herself is not yet conscious of her high moral value, therefore she is still a mystery to herself.”

The mystery of non-speculative Rigolette is revealed in Eugene Sue’s book by Murph. She is “une fort jolie grisette”.* Eugene Sue described in her the lovely human character of the Paris grisette. Only owing to his devotion to the bourgeoisie and his own tendency to high-flown exaggeration, he had to idealise the grisette morally. He had to gloss over the essential point of her situation in life and her character, to be precise, her disregard for the form of marriage, her naive attachment to the £tudiant b or the Ouvrier c . It is precisely in that attachment that she consti¬ tutes a really human contrast to the hypocritical, narrow-hearted, self-seeking wife of the bourgeois, to the whole circle of the bourgeoisie, that is, to the official circle.

a A very pretty grisette. — Ed. b Student.— Ed. c Worker.— Ed.


7. The World System of the steries of Paris

“This world of mysteries is now the general world system, in which the individual action of the Mysteries of Paris is set.”

Before, “however”, Herr Szeliga “passes on to the philo¬ sophical reproduction of the epic event”, he must “assemble in a general picture the sketches previously jotted down sepa¬ rately”.

It must be considered as a real confession, a revelation of Herr Szeliga’s Critical Mystery, when he says that he wishes to pass on to the “philosophical reproduction” of the epic event. He has so far been “philosophically reproducing” the world sys¬


Herr Szeliga continues his confession:

“From our presentation it appears that the individual mysteries dealt with have not their value in themselves, each separate from the others, and are in no way magnificent novelties for gossip, but that their value consists in their constituting an organically linked sequence, the totality of which is Mystery".

In his mood of sincerity, Herr Szeliga goes still further. He admits that the “ speculative sequence ” is not the real sequence of the Mysteres de Paris.

“Granted, the mysteries do not appear in our epic in the relation¬ ship of this self-knpwing sequence" (to cost prices?). “But we are not dealing with the logical, obvious, free organism of criticism, but with a mysterious vegetable existence."

We shall pass over Herr Szeliga’s summary and go on imme¬ diately to the point that constitutes the “transition”. In Pipelet we saw the “self-mockery of Mystery”.

“In self-mockery, Mystery passes judgment on itself. Thereby the mysteries, annihilating themselves in their final consequence, challenge every strong character to independent examination.”

Rudolph, Prince of Geroldstein, the man of “ pure Criticism”, is destined to carry out this examination and the “ disclosure of the mysteries”.


If we deal with Rudolph and his deeds only later, after di¬ verting our attention from Herr Szeliga for some time , 8 it can already be foreseen, and to a certain degree the reader can sense, indeed even surmise without presumption, that instead of treat¬ ing him as a “mysterious vegetable existence ”, which he is in the Critical Literatur-Zeitung, we shall make him a “ logical , obvious, free link” in the “organism of Critical Criticism’'.

a See pp. 201-59 of this edition.— Ed. 7—1552




1. Absolute Criticism’s First Campaign

a) "Spirit” and “Maw”

So far Critical Criticism has seemed to deal more or less with the Critical treatment of various mass-type objects. We now find it dealing with the absolutely Critical object, with itself. So far it has derived its relative glory from Critical debasement, rejec¬ tion and transformation of definite mass-type objects and persons. It now derives its absolute glory from the Critical debasement, rejection and transformation of the Mass in general. Relative Criticism was faced with relative limits. Absolute Criticism is faced with an absolute limit, the limit of the Mass, the Mass as limit. Relative Criticism in its opposition to definite limits was itself necessarily a limited individual. Absolute Criticism, in its opposition to the general limit, to limit in general, is necessarily an absolute individual. As the various mass-type objects and per¬ sons have merged in the impure pulp of the “Mass”, so has still seemingly objective and personal Criticism changed into “ pure Criticism”. So far Criticism has appeared to be more or less a quality of the Critical individuals: Reichardt, Edgar, Faucher, etc. Now it is the Subject and Herr Bruno is its incarnation.

So far mass character has seemed to be more or less the qual¬ ity of the objects and persons criticised; now objects and persons have become the “Mass” and the “Mass” has become object and person. All previous Critical attitudes have been dissolved in the attitude of absolute Critical wisdom to absolute mass-type stu¬ pidity. This basic attitude appears as the meaning, the tendency and the keyword of Criticism’s previous deeds and struggles.

In accordance with its absolute character, “pure” Criticism,


as soon as it appears, will pronounce the differentiating “cue”; nevertheless, as Absolute Spirit it must go through a dialectical process. Only at the end of its heavenly motion will its original concept be truly realised (see Hegel, Enzyklopadie).

“Only a few months ago,” Absolute Criticism announces, “the Mass believed itself to be of gigantic strength and destined to world mastery within a time that it could count on its fingers.”

It was precisely Herr Bruno Bauer, in Die gute Sache der Freiheit a (his “own” cause, of course), in Die Judenfrage , 22 etc., who counted on his fingers the time until the approaching world mastery, although he admitted he could not give the exact date. To the record of the sins of the Mass he adds the mass of his own sins.

“The Mass thought itself in possession of so many truths which seemed obvious to it.” “But one possesses a truth completely only... when one follows it through its proofs.”

For Herr Bauer, as for Hegel, truth is an automaton that proves itself. Man must follow it. As in Hegel, the result of real development is nothing but the truth proven, i.e., brought to consciousness. Absolute Criticism may therefore ask with the most narrow-minded theologian:

“What would be the purpose of history if its task were not pre¬ cisely to prove these simplest of all truths (such as the movement of the earth round the sun)?”

Just as, according to the earlier teleologists, plants exist to be eaten by animals, and animals to be eaten by men, history exists in order to serve as the act of consumption of theoretical eating —proving. Man exists so that history may exist, and history exists so that the proof of truths exists. In this Critically trivi- alised form is repeated the speculative wisdom that man exists, and history exists, so that truth may arrive at self-consciousness.

That is why history, like truth, becomes a person apart, a metaphysical subject of which the real human individuals are merely the bearers. That is why Absolute Criticism uses phrases like these:

“ The Good Cause of Freedom. — Ed.


“History does not allow itself to be mocked at ... History has exerted its greatest efforts to . . . History has been engaged . . . what would be the purpose of History?. . . History provides the explicit proof .. . His¬ tory puts forward truths,” etc.

If, as Absolute Criticism asserts, history has so far been oc¬ cupied with only a few such truths—the simplest of all—which in the end are self-evident, this inadequacy to which Absolute Criticism reduces previous human experiences proves first of all only its own inadequacy. From the un-Critical standpoint the result of history is, on the contrary, that the most complicated truth, the quintessence of all truth, man, is self-evident in the end.

“But truths,” Absolute Criticism continues to argue, “which seem to the mass to be so crystal-clear that they are self-evident from the start . . . and that the mass regards proof of them as superfluous, are not worth history supplying explicit proof of them; they are in general no part of the problem which history is engaged in solving.”

In its holy zeal against the mass, Absolute Criticism pays it the finest compliment. If a truth is crystal-clear because it seems crystal-clear to the mass; if history’s attitude to truths depends on the opinion of the mass, then the verdict of the mass is abso¬ lute, infallible, the law of history, and history proves only what does not seem crystal-clear to the mass, and therefore needs proof. It is the mass, then, that prescribes history’s “task” and “occupa¬ tion”.

Absolute Criticism speaks of “truths which are self-evident from the start". In its Critical naivety it invents an absolute “from the start" and an abstract, immutable “mass". There is just as little difference, in the eyes of Absolute Criticism, between the “from the start” of the sixteenth-century mass and the “from the start” of the nineteenth-century mass as there is between those masses themselves. It is precisely the characteristic feature of a truth which has become true and obvious and is self-evident that it is “self-evident from the start". Absolute Criticism’s po¬ lemic against truths which are self-evident from the start is a po¬ lemic against truths which are “self-evident” in general.

A truth which is self-evident has lost its savour, its meaning,


its value for Absolute Criticism as it has for divine dialectic. It has become flat, like stale water. On the one hand, therefore, Absolute Criticism proves everything which is self-evident and, in addition, many things which have the luck to be incompre¬ hensible and therefore will never be self-evident. On the other hand, it considers as self-evident everything which needs some elaboration. Why? Because it is ^//-evident that real problems are not self-evident.

Since, the “Truth”, like history, is an ethereal subject sepa¬ rate from the material mass, it addresses itself not to the empir¬ ical man but to the “innermost depths of the soul in order to be “truly apprehended ” in does not act on his vulgar body, which may live deep down it an English cellar or at the top of a French block of flats; it “stretches” “from end to end” through his idealistic intestines. Absolute Criticism does certify that “the mass” has so far in its own way, i.e., superficially, been affected by the truths that history has been so gracious as to “put for¬ ward”; but at the same time it prophesies that

“the attitude of the mass to historical progress will completely change”.

It will not be long before the mysterious meaning of this Critical prophecy becomes “crystal-clear” to us.

“All great actions of previous history,” we are told, “were failures from the start and had no effective success because the mass became interested in and enthusiastic over them—or, they were bound to come to a pitiful end because the idea underlying them was such that it had to be content with a superficial comprehension and therefore to rely on the approval of the mass.”

It seems that the comprehension which suffices for, and there¬ fore corresponds to, an idea ceases to be superficial. It is only for appearance’s sake that Herr Bruno brings out a relation between an idea and its comprehension, just as it is only for appearance’s sake that he brings out a relation between unsuccessful historical action and the mass. If, therefore, Absolute Criticism condemns something as “superficial”, it is simply previous history, the ac¬ tions and ideas of which were those of the “masses”. It rejects mass-type history to replace it by Critical history (see Herr Jules


Faucher on English problems of the day).' According to previous un-Critical history, i.e., history not conceived in the sense of Absolute Criticism, it must further be precisely distinguished to what extent the mass was “interested” in aims and to what extent it was “enthusiastic” over them. The “idea” always disgraced itself insofar as it differed from the “interest”. On the other hand, it is easy to understand that every mass-type “ interest ” that asserts itself historically goes far beyond its real limits in the “idea” or “imagination” when it first comes on the scene and is confused with human interest in general. This illusion consti¬ tutes what Fourier calls the tone of each historical epoch. The interest of the bourgeoisie in the 1789 Revolution, far from hav¬ ing been a “ failure ”, “won” everything and had “most effective success”, however much its “pathos” has evaporated and the “enthusiastic” flowers with which that interest adorned its cradle have faded. That interest was so powerful that it was victorious over the pen of Marat, the guillotine of the Terror and the sword of Napoleon as well as the crucifix and the blue blood of the Bourbons. The Revolution was a “failure” only for the mass which did not have in the political “idea” the idea of its real “interest”, i.e., whose true life-principle did not coincide with the life-principle of the Revolution, the mass whose real condi¬ tions for emancipation were essentially different from the condi¬ tions within which the bourgeoisie could emancipate itself and society. If the Revolution, which can exemplify all great historical “actions”, was a failure, it was so because the mass within whose living conditions it essentially came to a stop, was an exclusive, limited mass, not an all-embracing one. If the Revolution was a failure it was not because the mass was “ enthusiastic ” over it and “ interested ” in it, but because the most numerous part of the mass, the part distinct from the bourgeoisie, did not have its real interest in the principle of the Revolution, did not have a revolutionary principle of its own, but only an “idea”, and hence only an object of momentary enthusiasm and only seeming uplift.

Together with the thoroughness of the historical action, the

See pp. 17-22 of this edition.— Ed.


size of the mass whose action it is will therefore increase. In Crit¬ ical history, according to which in historical actions it is not a matter of the acting masses, of empirical action, or of the em¬ pirical interest of this action, but instead is only “a matter of an idea in them", things must naturally take a different course.

"In the mass,” Criticism teaches us, “not somewhere else, as its former liberal spokesmen believed, is the true enemy of the spirit to be found."

The enemies of progress outside the mass are precisely those products of self-debasement, self-rejection and self-alienation of the mass which have been endowed with independent being and a life of their own. The mass therefore turns against its own deficiency when it turns against the independently existing prod¬ ucts of its self-debasement, just as man, turning against the existence of God, turns against his own religiosity. But as those practical self-alienations of the mass exist in the real world in an outward way, the mass must fight them in an outward way. It must by no means hold these products of its self-alienation for mere ideal fantasies, mere alienations of self-consciousness, and must not wish to abolish material estrangement by purely inward spiritual action. As early as 1789 Loustalot’s journal bore the motto:

Les grands ne nous paraissent grands Que parce que nous sommes a genoux -Levons nous!-*

But to rise it is not enough to do so in thought and to leave hanging over one’s real sensuously perceptible head the real sen¬ suously perceptible yoke that cannot be subtilised away with ideas. Yet Absolute Criticism has learnt from Hegel’s Phanomenologie at least the art of converting real objective chains that exist out¬ side me into merely ideal, merely subjective chains, existing me¬ rely in me and thus of converting all external sensuously percep¬ tible struggles into pure struggles of thought.

a The great appear great in our eyes Only because we are kneeling.

Let us rise!— Ed.



This Critical transformation is the basis of the pre-established harmony between Critical Criticism and the censorship. From the Critical point of view, the writer’s fight against the censor is not a fight of “man against man”. The censor is nothing but my own tact personified for me by solicitous police, my own tact struggling against my tactlessness and un-Criticalness. The struggle of the writer with the censor is only seemingly, only in the eyes of wicked sensuousness, anything else than the inner struggle of the writer with himself. Insofar as the censor is really individually different from myself, a police executioner who mishandles the product of my mind by applying an external standard alien to the matter in question, he is a mere mass-type fantasy, an un-Critical figment of the brain. When Feuerbach’s Thesen zur Reform der Philosophic 23 were prohibited by the censorship, it was not the official barbarity of the censorship that was to blame but the uncultured character of Feuerbach’s Thesen. “Pure ” Criticism unsullied by mass or matter, too, has in the cen¬ sor a purely “ethereal” form, divorced from all mass-type reality.

Absolute Criticism has declared the “Mass" to be the true enemy of the Spirit. It develops this in more detail as follows:

“The Spirit now knows where to look for its only adversary —in the self-deception and the pithlessness of the Mass.”

Absolute Criticism proceeds from the dogma of the absolute competency of the “Spirit". Furthermore, it proceeds from the dogma of the extramundane existence of the Spirit, i.e., of its existence outside the mass of humanity. Finally, it transforms “the Spirit”, “ Progress ”, on the one hand, and “ the Mass ”, on the other, into fixed entities, into concepts, and then relates them to one another as such given rigid extremes. It does not occur to Absolute Criticism to investigate the “Spirit ” itself, to find out whether it is not in its spiritualistic nature, in its airy preten¬ sions, that the “phrase”, “self-deception” and “pithlessness” are rooted. No, the Spirit is absolute, but unfortunately at the same time it continually turns into spiritlessness ; it continually reckons without its host. Hence it must necessarily have an adversary that intrigues against it. That adversary is the Mass.

The position is the same with “ Progress ”, In spite of the


pretensions of “ Progress ”, continual retrogressions and circular movements occur. Far from suspecting that the category “ Pro¬ gress ” is completely empty and abstract, Absolute Criticism is so profound as to recognise “Progress” as being absolute, so as to explain retrogression by assuming a “ personal adversary” of Progress, the Mass. As “the Mass” is nothing but the “opposite of the Spirit”, of Progress, of “Criticism” , a it can accordingly be defined only by this imaginary opposition; apart from that opposition all that Criticism can say about the meaning and the existence of the Mass is only something meaningless, because completely undefined:

“The Mass, in that sense in which the 'word’ also embraces the so-called educated world.”

“Also” and “so-called” suffice for a Critical definition. The “Mass” is therefore distinct from the real masses and exists as the “Mass” only for “Criticism”.

All communist and socialist writers proceeded from the ob¬ servation that, on the one hand, even the most favourably bril¬ liant deeds seemed to remain without brilliant results, to end in trivialities, and, on the other, all progress of the Spirit had so far been progress against the mass of mankind, driving it into an ever more dehumanised situation. They therefore declared “progress” (see Fourier ) to be an inadequate, abstract phrase ; they assumed (see Owen among others) a fundamental flaw in the civilised world; that is why they subjected the real founda¬ tions of contemporary society to incisive criticism. This com*- munist criticism had practically at once as its counterpart the movement of the great mass, in opposition to which history had been developing so far. One must know the studiousness, the craving for knowledge, the moral energy and the unceasing urge for development of the French and English workers to be able to form an idea of the human nobility of this movement.

How infinitely profound then is “Absolute Criticism”, which, m face of these intellectual and practical facts, sees in a one-

a In the German text: des Fortschritts der “Kritik” (the Progress °f Criticism)—probably a misprint.— Ed.


sided way only one aspect of the relationship, the continual foundering of the Spirit, and, vexed at this, seeks in addition an adversary of the “Spirit”, which it finds in the “Mass”! In the end this great Critical discovery amounts to a tautology. Accord¬ ing to Criticism, the Spirit, has so far had a limit, an obstacle, in other words, an adversary, because it has had an adversary. Who, then, is the adversary of the Spirit ? Spiritlessness. For the Mass is defined only as the “opposite” of the Spirit, as spiritless¬ ness or, to take the more precise definitions of spiritlessness, as “indolence”, “superficiality”, “self-complacency”. What a funda¬ mental superiority over the communist writers it is not to have traced spiritlessness, indolence, superficiality and self-complacen¬ cy to their places of origin, but to have denounced them morally and exposed them as the opposite of the Spirit, of Progress! If these qualities are proclaimed qualities of the Mass, as of a subject still distinct from them, that distinction is nothing but a “Crit¬ ical” semblance of distinction. Only in appearance has Abso¬ lute Criticism a definite concrete subject besides the abstract qualities of spiritlessness, indolence, etc., for “the Mass'” in the Critical conception is nothing but those abstract qualities, another word for them, a fantastic personification of them.

The relation between “Spirit and Mass” has, however, also a hidden meaning which will be completely revealed in the course of the reasoning. We only indicate it here. That relation discov¬ ered by Herr Bruno is, in fact, nothing but a Critically carica¬ tured consummation of Hegel’s conception of history, which, in turn, is nothing but the speculative expression of the Christian- Germanic dogma of the antithesis between Spirit and Matter, between God and the world. This antithesis finds expression in history, in the human world itself in such a way that a few chosen individuals as the active Spirit are counterposed to the rest of mankind, as the spiritless Mass, as Matter.

Hegel’s conception of history presupposes an Abstract or Ab¬ solute Spirit which develops in such a way that mankind is a mere mass that bears the Spirit with a varying degree of consciousness or unconsciousness. Within empirical, exoteric history therefore, Hegel makes a speculative, esoteric history,


develop. The history of mankind becomes the history of the Abstract Spirit of mankind, hence a spirit far removed from the real man.

Parallel with this doctrine of Hegel’s there developed in France the theory of the doctrinaires 24 proclaiming the sovereign¬ ty of reason in opposition to the sovereignty of the people, in order to exclude the masses and rule alone. This was quite con¬ sistent. If the activity of real mankind is nothing but the activity of a mass of human individuals, then abstract generality. Reason, the Spirit, on the contrary, must have an abstract expression re¬ stricted to a few individuals. It then depends on the situation and imaginative power of each individual whether he will claim to be this representative of “the Spirit”.

Already in Hegel the Absolute Spirit of history has its mate¬ rial in the Mass and finds its appropriate expression only in philo¬ sophy. The philosopher, however, is only the organ through which the maker of history, the Absolute Spirit, arrives at self- consciousness retrospectively after the movement has ended. The participation of the philosopher in history is reduced to this re¬ trospective consciousness, for the real movement is accomplished by the Absolute Spirit unconsciously. Hence the philosopher ap¬ pears on the scene post festumA

Hegel is guilty of being doubly half-hearted: firstly in that, while declaring that philosophy is the mode of existence of the Absolute Spirit, he refuses to recognise the actual philosophical individual as the Absolute Spirit; secondly, in that he lets the Absolute Spirit as Absolute Spirit make history only in appear¬ ance. For since the Absolute Spirit becomes conscious of itself as the creative World Spirit only post festum in the philosopher, its making of history exists only in the consciousness, in the opi¬ nion and conception of the philosopher, i.e., only in the specula¬ tive imagination. Herr Bruno Bauer overcomes Hegel’s half¬ heartedness.

Firstly, he proclaims Criticism to be the Absolute Spirit and himself to be Criticism. Just as the element of Criticism is ban-

After the event.— Ed.


ished from the Mass, so the element of the Mass is banished from Criticism. Therefore Criticism sees itself incarnate not in a mass, but exclusively in a handful of chosen men, in Herr Bauer and his disciples.

Herr Bauer furthermore overcomes Hegel’s other half¬ heartedness. No longer, like the Hegelian Spirit, does he make history post festum and in imagination. He consciously plays the part of the World Spirit in opposition to the mass of the rest of mankind; he enters into a contemporary dramatic relation with that mass; he invents and executes history with a purpose and after mature reflection.

On the one side is the Mass as the passive, spiritless, unhis- torical, material element of history. On the other is the Spirit, Criticism, Herr Bruno and Co. as the active element from which all historical action proceeds. The act of transforming society is reduced to the cerebral activity of Critical Criticism.

Indeed, the relation of Criticism, and hence of Criticism in¬ carnate, Herr Bruno and Co., to the Mass is in truth the only historical relation of the present time. The whole of present-day history is reduced to the movement of these two sides against each other. All antitheses have been dissolved in this Critical antithesis.

Critical Criticism, which becomes objective to itself only in relation to its antithesis, to the Mass, to stupidity, is consequent¬ ly obliged continually to produce this antithesis for itself, and Herren Faucher, Edgar and Szeliga have supplied sufficient proof of their virtuosity in their speciality, the mass stupefaction of persons and things.

Let us now accompany Absolute Criticism in its campaigns against the Mass.

b) The Jewish Question No. 1.

The Setting of the Questions

The “Spirit”, contrary to the Mass, behaves from the outset in a Critical way by considering its own narrow-minded work, Bruno Bauer’s Die Judenfrage, as absolute, and only the oppo-


nents of that work as sinners. In Reply No. I 25 to attacks on that treatise, he does not show any inkling of its defects; on the contrary, he declares he has set forth the “true”, “general” (!) significance of the Jewish question. In later replies we shall see him obliged to admit his “oversights ”. a

“The reception my book has had is the beginning of the proof that the very ones who so far have advocated freedom, and still advocate it, must rise against the Spirit more than any others; the defence of my book which I am now going to undertake will supply further proof how thoughtless the spokesmen of the Mass are; they have God knows what a great opinion of themselves for supporting emancipation and the dogma of the ‘ rights of man’.”

On the occasion of a treatise by Absolute Criticism, the “Mass” must necessarily have begun to prove its antithesis to the Spirit; for it is its antithesis to Absolute Criticism that determines and proves its very existence.

The polemic of a few liberal and rationalist Jews against Herr Bruno’s Die Judenfrage has naturally a Critical meaning quite different from that of the mass-type polemic of the liberals against philosophy and of the rationalists against Strauss. In¬ cidentally, the originality of the above-quoted remark can be judged by the following passage from Hegel:

“We can here note the particular form of bad conscience manifest in the kind of eloquence with which that shallowness” (of the liberals) “plumes itself, and first of all in the fact that it speaks most of Spirit where its speech has the least spirit , and uses the word life”, etc., “where it is most dead and withered.”b

As for the “ rights of man”, it has been proved to Herr Bruno (“On the Jewish Question”, Deutsch-Franzosische Jahrbiicher c ) that it is “he himself”, not the spokesmen of the Mass, who has misunderstood and dogmatically mishandled the essence of those fights. Compared to his discovery that the rights of man are not

a See pp. 118-20, 132-33 of this edition.— Ed.

  • > G. W. F. Hegel, Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts. Vorre-


c See K. Marx and F. Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 3, pp. 146- 7 4 .—Ed.


“inborn ”—a discovery which has been made innumerable times in England during the last 40-odd years—Fourier’s assertion that the right to fish, to hunt, etc., are inborn rights of men is one of genius.

We give only a few examples of Herr Bruno’s fight against Philippson, Hirsch and others. Even such poor opponents as these are not disposed of by Absolute Criticism. It is by no means pre¬ posterous of Herr Philippson, as Absolute Criticism maintains, to say:

“Bauer conceives a peculiar kind of state ... a philosophical ideal of a state.”

Herr Bruno, who confuses the state with humanity, the rights of man with man and political emancipation with human eman¬ cipation, was bound, if not to conceive, at least to imagine a peculiar kind of state, a philosophical ideal of a state.

“Instead of writing his laboured statement, the rhetorician” (Herr Hirsch) “would have done better to refute my proof that the Christian state, having as its vital principle a definite religion, cannot allow ad¬ herents of another particular religion .. . complete equality with its own social estates.”

Had the rhetorician Hirsch really refuted Herr Bruno’s proof and shown, as is done in the Deutsch-Franzosische Jahrbucher, that the state of social estates and of exclusive Christianity is not only an incomplete state but an incomplete Christian state, Herr Bruno would have answered as he does to that refutation:

“Objections in this matter are meaningless.” 1 ”

Herr Hirsch is quite correct when in answer to Herr Bruno’s statement:

“By pressure against the mainsprings of history the Jews provoked counter-pressure,”

he recalls:

“Then they must have counted for something in the making of history, and if Bauer himself asserts this, he has no right to assert, on the other hand, that they did not contribute anything to the making of modern times.”


Herr Bruno answers:

“An eyesore is something too—does that mean it contributes to de¬ velop my eyesight?”

Something which has been an eyesore to me from birth, as the Jews have been to the Christian world, and which persists and develops with the eye is not an ordinary sore, but a won¬ derful one, one that really belongs to my eye and must even contribute to a highly original development of my eyesight. The Critical “ eyesore ” does not therefore hurt the rhetorician “Hirsch”. Incidentally, the criticism quoted above revealed to Herr Bruno the significance of Jewry in “the making of modern times”.

The theological mind of Absolute Criticism feels so offended by a deputy of the Rhenish Landtag stating that “the Jews are queer in their own Jewish way, not in our so-called Christian way”, that it is still “calling him to order for using that argument”.

Concerning the assertion of another deputy that “ civil equality of the Jews can be implemented only where Jewry no longer exists”, Herr Bruno comments:

“Correct! That is correct if Criticism’s other proposition, which I put forward in my treatise, is not omitted”, namely the proposition that Christianity also must have ceased to exist.

We see that in its Reply No. 1 to the attacks upon Die Juden- frage. Absolute Criticism still regards the abolition of religion, atheism, as the condition for civil equality. In its first stage it has therefore not yet acquired any deeper insight into the essence of the state than into the “ oversights ” of its “work’ 7 .

Absolute Criticism feels offended when one of its intended “latest” scientific discoveries is betrayed as something already generally recognised. A Rhenish deputy remarks:

“No one has yet maintained that France and Belgium were distin¬ guished by particular clarity in recognising principles in the organisation °f their political affairs.”

Absolute Criticism could have objected that that assertion transferred the present into the past by representing as tradition¬ al the now trivial view of the inadequacy of French political


principles. Such a relevant objection would not be profitable for Absolute Criticism. On the contrary, it must assert the obsolete view to be that at present prevailing, and proclaim the now pre¬ vailing view a Critical mystery which its investigation still has to reveal to the Mass. Hence it must say:

“It” (the antiquated prejudice) “has been asserted by very many” (of the Mass): “ but a thorough investigation of history will provide the proof that even after the great work done by France to comprehend the principles, much still remains to be achieved.”

That means that a thorough investigation of history will not itself “achieve” the comprehension of the principles. It will only prove in its thoroughness that “much still remains to be achieved”. A great achievement, especially after the works of the So¬ cialists! Nevertheless Herr Bruno already achieves much for the comprehension of the present social state of things by his remark:

“The certainty prevailing at present is uncertainty."

If Hegel says that the prevailing Chinese certainty is “Being”, that the prevailing Indian certainty is “Nothing”, etc., Absolute Criticism joins him in the “pure” way when it resolves the char¬ acter of the present time in the logical category “ Uncertainty ”, and all the purer since “Uncertainty”, like “Being” and “Noth¬ ing”, belongs to the first chapter of speculative logic, the chapter on “Quality”.

We cannot leave No. 1 of Die Judenfrage without a gen¬ eral remark.

One of the chief pursuits of Absolute Criticism consists in first bringing all questions of the day into their right setting. For it does not answer the real questions—it substitutes quite different ones. As it makes everything, it must also first make the “questions of the day”, make them its own questions, ques¬ tions of Critical Criticism. If it were a question of the Code Napoleon, it would prove that it is properly a question of the Pentateuch , 27 Its setting of “questions of the day” is Critical distortion and misrepresentation of them. It thus distorted the “Jewish question”, too, in such a way that it did not need to investigate political emancipation, which is the subject-matter of


that question, but could instead confine itself to a criticism of the Jewish religion and a description of the Christian-Germanic state.

This method, too, like all Absolute Criticism’s originalities, is the repetition of a speculative verbal trick. Speculative philoso¬ phy, namely, Hegel’s philosophy, had to transpose all questions from the form of common sense to the form of speculative reason and convert the real question into a speculative one to be able to answer it. Having distorted my question on my lips and, like the catechism, put its own question into my mouth, it could, of course, like the catechism, have its ready answer to all my questions.

c) Hinrichs No. 1. Mysterious Hints on Politics,

Socialism and Philosophy

“ Political /” Absolute Criticism is literally horrified at the presence of this word in Professor Hinrichs’ lectures. 28

“Whoever has followed the development of modem times and knows history will also know that the political movements at present taking place have a significance quite different” (!) “from a political one: at their base” (at their base! . . . now for basic wisdom) “they have a social” (!) “significance, which, as we know” (!) “is such” (!) “that all political interests appear insignificant" (!) “in comparison with it.”

A few months before the Critical Literatur-Zeitung began to be published, there appeared, as we know (!), Herr Bruno’s fan¬ tastic political treatise: Staat, Religion und Parthei\

If political movements have social significance, how can po¬ litical interests appear “ insignificant” in comparison with their own social significance?

“Herr Hinrichs does not know his way about either in his own house or anywhere else in the world. . . . He could not be at home anywhere because . .. because Criticism, which in the last four years has begun and carried on its by no means 'political ’ but 'social’” (!) “work, has re¬ gained completely” (!) “unknown to him.”

Criticism, which according to the opinion of the Mass carried or » “by no means political ” but “in all respects theological” work, ls still content with the word “social”, even now when it has

® 1552


uttered this word for the first time, not just in the last four years, but since its literary birth.

Since socialist writings spread in Germany the recognition that all human aspirations and actions without exception have social significance, Herr Bruno can call his theological works social too. But what a Critical demand it is that Professor Hin- richs should have derived socialism from an acquaintance with Bauer's works, considering that all Bruno Bauer’s works pub¬ lished up to the appearance of Hinrichs’ lectures, when they do draw practical conclusions, draw political ones! It was impossible, un-Critically speaking, for Professor Hinrichs to supplement Herr Bruno’s published works with his as yet unpublished ones. From the Critical point of view, the Mass is, of course, obliged to 1 interpret all Absolute Criticism’s mass-type “movements”, as well j as “political” ones, from the angle of the future and of Abso- | lute Progress! But in order that Herr Hinrichs, after becoming acquainted with the Literatur-Zeitung, may never again forget I the word “ social ” or fail to recognise the “ social ” character of Criticism, Criticism prohibits the word “ political ” for the third 9 time before the whole world and solemnly repeats the word “ social’ ’ for the third time.

“If the true tendency of modern history is considered it is no longer 1 a question of political, but —but of social significance”, etc.

Just as Professor Hinrichs is the scapegoat for the former “political” movements, so is he also for the “ Hegelian ” movements and expressions which Absolute Criticism used intentionally up to the publication of the Literatur-Zeitung, and continues to use unintentionally in it.

Once “ real Hegelian ” and twice “ Hegelian philosopher ” are thrown in Hinrichs’ face as catchwords. Herr Bruno even “ hopes ” that the “banal expressions so tiresomely circulated in all the books of the Hegelian school” (in particular in his own books) will, in view of their great “ exhaustion ” as seen in Professor Hinrichs’ lectures, soon reach the end of their journey. From the “exhaustion” of Professor Hinrichs, Herr Bruno hopes for the dissolution of Hegel’s philosophy and thereby his own redemp¬ tion from it.


Thus in its first campaign Absolute Criticism overthrows its own long-worshipped gods, “ Politics ” and “Philosophy”, declar¬ ing them idols of Professor Hinrichs.

Glorious first campaign!

2. Absolute Criticism’s Second Campaign

a) Hinrichs No. 2. “Criticism” and “Feuerbach”.

Condemnation of Philosophy

As the result of its first campaign, Absolute Criticism can regard “ philosophy ” as having been dealt with and term it out¬ right an ally of the “Mass”.

“Philosophers were predestined to fulfil the heart’s desires of the ‘Mass' ”, For “the Mass wants simple concepts, in order to have nothing to do with the thing itself, shibboleths, so as to have finished with every¬ thing from the start, phrases by which Criticism can be done away with.” 29

And “philosophy” fulfils this longing of the “Mass”!

Dizzy after its victories, Absolute Criticism breaks out in Py¬ thian frenzy against philosophy. Feuerbach's Philosophic der Zu- kunft “ is the concealed cauldron 11 whose fumes inspire the frenzy of Absolute Criticism’s victory-intoxicated head. It read Feuer¬ bach’s work in March. The fruit of that reading, and at the same time the criterion of the earnestness with which it was undertaken, is Article No. 2 against Professor Hinrichs.

In this article Absolute Criticism, which has never freed itself from the cage of the Hegelian way of viewing things, storms at the iron bars and walls of its prison. The “simple concept”, the terminology, the whole mode of thought of philosophy, in¬ deed, the whole of philosophy, is rejected with disgust. In its place we suddenly find the “ real wealth of human relations”,

“ L. Feuerbach, Grundsatze der Philosophic der Zukunft. — Ed.

b Engels here makes a pun on “Feuerbach” (literally stream of fire) and “FeuerkesseF' (boiler).— Ed.



the “immense content of history ”, the “ significance of man ”, etc. “The mystery of the system” is declared “revealed”.

But who, then, revealed the mystery of the “system”? Feuer¬ bach. Who annihilated the dialectics of concepts, the war of the gods that was known to the philosophers alone? Feuerbach. Who substituted for the old lumber and for “infinite self-con¬ sciousness” if not, indeed, “the significance of man” —as though man had another significance than that of being man!—at any rate “Man”? Feuerbach , and only Feuerbach. And he did more. Long ago he did away with the very categories with which “Criticism” now operates—the “real wealth of human relations, the immense content of history, the struggle of history, the fight of the Mass against the Spirit”, etc., etc.

Once man is recognised as the essence, the basis of all human activity and situations, only “Criticism” can invent new catego¬ ries and transform man himself into a category and into the principle of a whole series of categories, as it is doing now. It is true that in so doing it takes the only road to salvation that has remained for frightened and persecuted theological inhumanity.

History does nothing, it “possesses no immense wealth”, it “wages no battles”. It is man, real, living man who does all that, who possesses and fights; “history” is not, as it were, a person apart, using man as a means to achieve its own aims; history is nothing but the activity of man pursuing his aims. If Absolute Criticism, after Feuerbach’s brilliant expositions, still dares to reproduce all the old trash in a new form, at the same time abusing it as “ mass-type” trash—which it has all the less right to do as it never stirred a finger to dissolve philosophy—that fact alone is sufficient to bring the “ mystery ” of Criticism to light and to assess the Critical naivety with which it says the following to Professor Hinrichs, whose “ exhaustion ” once did it such a great service:

“The damage is to those who have not gone through any develop¬ ment and therefore could not alter themselves even if they wished to, and at most to the new principle—but no! The new cannot be made into a phrase, separate turns of speech cannot be borrowed from it."

Absolute Criticism prides itself that, in contrast to Professor Hinrichs, it has solved “the mystery of the faculty sciences •


Has it then solved the “mystery” of philosophy, jurisprudence, politics, medicine, political economy and so forth? Not at all! It has—be it noted!—shown in Die gute Sache der Freiheit that science as a source of livelihood and free science, freedom of teaching and faculty statutes, contradict each other.

If “Absolute Criticism” were honest it would have admitted where its pretended illumination on the “Mystery of Philosophy” comes from. It is a good thing all the same that it does not put into Feuerbach’ s mouth such nonsense as the misunderstood and distorted propositions that it borrowed from him, as it has done with other people. By the way, it is characteristic of “Absolute Criticism’s” theological viewpoint that, whereas the German phi- listines are now beginning to understand Feuerbach and to adopt his conclusions, it is unable to grasp a single sentence of his correctly or to use it properly.

Criticism achieves a real advance over its feats of the first campaign when it “defines” the struggle of “the Mass” against the “Spirit” as “the aim” of all previous history, when it declares that “the Mass ” is the “ pure nothing” of “misery”; when it calls the Mass purely and simply “ Matter ” and contrasts “ the Spirit” as truth to “Matter”. Is not Absolute Criticism therefore genuine¬ ly C hristian-Germanic? After the old antithesis between spirit¬ ualism and materialism has been fought out on all sides and overcome once for all by Feuerbach, “Criticism ” again makes a basic dogma of it in its most loathsome form and gives the victory to the “ Christian-Germanic spirit”.

Finally, it must be considered as a development of Criticism’s mystery concealed in its first campaign when it now identifies the antithesis between Spirit and Mass with the antithesis between “Criticism ” and the Mass. Later it will go on to identify itself with “ Criticism ” and therefore to represent itself as “the Spirit”, the Absolute and Infinite, and the Mass, on the other hand, as finite, coarse, brutal, dead and inorganic—for that is what “Crit¬ icism” understands by matter.

How immense is the wealth of history that is exhausted in the relationship of humanity to Herr Bauer\


b) The Jewiah Question No. 2. Critical Discoveries on Socialism, Jnrisprndence and Politics (Nationality)

To the material, mass-type Jews is preached the Christian doctrine of freedom of the Spirit, freedom in theory, that spirit¬ ualistic freedom which imagines itself to be free even in chains, and whose soul is satisfied with “the idea ” and only embarrassed by any mass-type existence.

“The Jews are emancipated to the extent they have now reached in theory, they are free to the extent that they wish to be free.” n

From this proposition one can immediately measure the Critical gap which separates mass-type, profane communism and socialism from absolute socialism. The first proposition of profane socialism rejects emancipation in mere theory as an illusion and for real freedom it demands besides the idealistic “will” very tangible, very material conditions. How low “the Mass” is in com¬ parison with holy Criticism, the Mass which considers material, practical upheavals necessary even to win the time and means re¬ quired merely to occupy itself with “theory”.

Let us leave purely spiritual socialism an instant for politics !

Herr Riesser maintains against Bruno Bauer that his state (i.e., the Critical state) must exclude “Jews” and “Christians”. Herr Riesser is right. Since Herr Bauer confuses political eman¬ cipation with human emancipation, since the state can react to antagonistic elements—and Christianity and Judaism are des¬ cribed as treasonable elements in Die Judenfrage —only by for¬ cible exclusion of the persons representing them (as the Terror, for instance, wished to do away with hoarding by guillotining the hoarders 31 ), Herr Bauer must have both Jews and Christians hanged in his “Critical state”. Having confused political eman¬ cipation with human emancipation, he had to be consistent and confuse the political means of emancipation with the human means. But as soon as Absolute Criticism is told the definite meaning of its deductions, it gives the answer that Schelling once gave to all his opponents who substituted real thoughts for his phrases:


“ Criticism's opponents are its opponents because they not only mea¬ sure it with their dogmatic yardstick but regard Criticism itself as dog¬ matic; they oppose Criticism because it does not recognise their dogmatic distinctions, definitions and evasions.”

It is, of course, to adopt a dogmatic attitude to Absolute Criticism, as also to Herr Schelling, if one assumes it to have definite, real meaning, thoughts and views. In order to be ac¬ commodating and to prove to Herr Riesser its humanity, “ Crit¬ icism”, however, decides to resort to dogmatic distinctions, defini¬ tions and especially to “evasions”.

Thus we read:

“Had I in that work” ( Die Judenfrage) “had the will or the right to go beyond criticism, I ought” (!) “to have spoken” (!) “not of the state, but of 'society', which excludes no one but from which only those exclude themselves who do not wish to take part in its development.”

Here Absolute Criticism makes a dogmatic distinction be¬ tween what it ought to have done, if it had not done the contrary, and what it actually did. It explains the narrowness of its work Die Judenfrage by the “dogmatic evasion ” of having the will and the right which prohibited it from going “beyond criticism What? “ Criticism ” should go beyond “criticism ”? This quite mass-type notion occurs to Absolute Criticism because of the dogmatic necessity for, on the one hand, asserting its conception of the Jewish question as absolute, as “ Criticism”, and, on the other hand, admitting the possibility of a more comprehensive conception.

The mystery of its “not having the will” and “not having the right” will later be revealed as the Critical dogma according to which all apparent limitations of “Criticism” are nothing but necessary adaptations to the powers of comprehension of the Mass.

It had not the will] It had not the right to go beyond its narrow conception of the Jewish question! But what would it have done had it had the will or the right ?—It would have g'ven a dogmatic definition. It would have spoken of “ society ” instead of the “state”, that is to say, it would not have studied l ne real relation of Jewry to present-day civil society! It would


have given a dogmatic definition of “ society ” as distinct from the “state”, in the sense that if the state excludes, on the other hand they exclude themselves from society who do not wish to take part in its development!

Society behaves just as exclusively as the state, only in a more polite form: it does not throw you out, but it makes it so uncomfortable for you that you go out of your own will.

Basically, the state does not behave otherwise, for it does not exclude anybody who complies with all its demands and orders and its development. In its perfection it even closes its eyes and declares real contradictions to be non-political contra¬ dictions which do not disturb it. Besides, Absolute Criticism itself has argued that the state excludes Jews because and in so far as the Jews exclude the state and hence exclude themselves from the state. If this reciprocal relationship has a more polite, a more hypocritical, a more insidious form in Critical “society”, this only proves that “ Critical ” “society ” is more hypocritical and less de¬ veloped.

Let us follow Absolute Criticism deeper in its “dogmatic dis¬ tinctions” and “definitions”, and, in particular, in its “evasions”.

Herr Riesser, for example, demands of the critic “that he distinguish what belongs to the domain of law” from “what is beyond its sphere”.

The Critic is indignant at the impertinence of this juridical demand.

“So far, however," he retorts, “both feeling and conscience have interfered in law, always supplemented it, and because of its character, based on its dogmatic form” (not, therefore, on its dogmatic essence?), “have always had to supplement it.”

The Critic forgets only that law, on the other hand, dis¬ tinguishes itself quite explicitly from “feeling and conscience”, that this distinction is based on the one-sided essence of law as well as on its dogmatic form, and is even one of the main dog¬ mas of law; that, finally, the practical implementation of that distinction is just as much the peak of the development of law as the separation of religion from all profane content makes it abstract, absolute religion. The fact that “feeling and conscience”


interfere in law is sufficient reason for the “Critic” to speak of feeling and conscience when it is a matter of law, and of theolog¬ ical dogmatism when it is a matter of juridical dogmatism.

The “definitions and distinctions of Absolute Criticism” have prepared us sufficiently to hear its latest “ discoveries ” on “ so¬ ciety ” and ' l law".

“The world form that Criticism is preparing, and the thought of which it is even only just preparing, is not a merely legal form but” (collect yourself, reader) “a social one, about which at least this much” (this little?) “can be said: whoever has not made his contribution to its development and does not live with his conscience and feeling in it, cannot feel at home in it or take part in its history.”

The world form that “ Criticism ” is preparing is defined as not merely legal, but social. This definition can be interpreted in two ways. The sentence quoted may be taken as “not legal but social” or as “not merely legal, but also social”. Let us con¬ sider its content according to both readings, beginning with the first. Earlier, Absolute Criticism defined the new “world form” distinct from the “state" as “society”. Now it defines the noun “society" by the adjective “social”. If Herr Hinrichs was three times given the word “social ” in contrast to his “ political ”, Herr Riesser is now given social society in contrast to his “legal" so¬ ciety. If the Critical explanations for Herr Hinrichs reduced themselves to the formula “socia!”+“social”+“social”—3a, Absolute Criticism in its second campaign passes from addition to multiplication and Herr Riesser is referred to society multiplied by itself, society to the second power, social society = a 2 . In order to complete its deductions on society, all that now remains for Absolute Criticism to do is to go on to fractions, to extract the square root of society, and so forth.

If, on the other hand, we take the second reading: the “not merely legal, but also social” world form, this hybrid world form is nothing but the world form existing today, the world form of present-day society. It is a great, a meritorious Critical miracle that “ Criticism ” in its pre-world thinking is only just preparing the future existence of the world form which exists today. But however matters stand with “not merely legal but social society”,


Criticism can for the time being say no more about it than “/ fi¬ bula docet ”, a the moral application. Those who do not live in that society with their feeling and their conscience will “not feel at home” in it. In the end, no one will live in that society except “pure feeling” and “pure conscience”, that is, “the Spirit”, “Crit¬ icism' 1 ' and its supporters. The Mass will be excluded from it in one way or another so that “mass-type society” will exist outside “social society”.

In a word, this society is nothing but the Critical heaven from which the real world is excluded as being the un-Critical hell. In its pure thinking, Absolute Criticism is preparing this transfigured world form of the contradiction between “Mass" and “Spirit".

Of the same Critical depth as these explanations on “ society ” are the explanations Herr Riesser is given on the destiny of nations.

The Jews’ desire for emancipation and the desire of the Chris¬ tian states to “classify” the Jews in “their government scheme” —as though the Jews had not long ago been classified in the Christian government scheme!—lead Absolute Criticism to prophecies on the decay of nationalities. See by what a compli¬ cated detour Absolute Criticism arrives at the present historical movement—namely, by the detour of theology. The following il¬ luminating oracle shows us what great results Criticism achieves in this way:

“The future of all nationalities— is — very — obscure!”

But let the future of nationalities be as obscure as it may be, for Criticism’s sake. The one essential thing is clear: the future is the work of Criticism.

“Destiny,” it exclaims, “may decide as it will: we now know that it is our work.”

As God leaves his creation, man, his own will, so Criticism leaves destiny, which is its creation, its own will. Criticism, of

■ The fable teaches.— Ed.


which destiny is the work, is, like God, almighty. Even the “resist¬ ance” which it “finds" outside itself is its own work. “Criticism makes its adversaries.” The “mass indignation ” against it is there¬ fore “dangerous” only for “the Mass” itself.

But if Criticism, like God, is almighty, it is also, like God, all-wise and is capable of combining its almightiness with the freedom , the will and the natural determination of human indi¬ viduals.

“It would not be the epoch-making force if it did not have the effect of making each one what he wills to be and showing each one ir¬ revocably the standpoint corresponding to his nature and his will."

Leibniz could not have given a happier presentation of the pre-established harmony between the almightiness of God and the freedom and natural determination of man.

If “Criticism" seems to clash with psychology by not distin¬ guishing between the will to be something and the ability to be something, it must be borne in mind that it has decisive grounds to declare this “ distinction ” “dogmatic".

Let us steel ourselves for the third campaign! Let us recall once more that “Criticism makes its adversary”! But how could it make its adversary, the “phrase", if it were not a phrase-mon¬ ger?

3. Absolute Criticism’s Third Campaign

a) Absolute Criticism’s Self-Apology.

Its “Political” Past

Absolute Criticism begins its third campaign against the “Mass” with the question:

"What is now the object of criticism?”"

In the same number of the Literatur-Zeitung we find the information:

“Criticism wishes nothing but to know things .”

According to this, all things are the object of Criticism. It would be senseless to inquire about some particular, definite


object peculiar to Criticism. The contradiction is easily resolved when one remembers that all things “merge” into Critical things and all Critical things into the Mass, as the “Object ” of ‘'Ab¬ solute Criticism ”.

First of all, Herr Bruno describes his infinite pity for the “Mass". He makes “the gap that separates him from the crowd .” an object of “persevering study". He wants “to find out the signif¬ icance of that gap for the future ” (this is what above was called knowing “all" things) and at the same time “to abolish it”. In truth he therefore already knows the significance of that gap. It consists in being abolished by him.

As each man’s self is nearest to him, “ Criticism ” first sets about abolishing its own mass nature, like the Christian ascetics who begin the campaign of the spirit against the flesh with the morti¬ fication of their own flesh. The “flesh” of Absolute Criticism is its really massive literary past, amounting to 20-30 volumes. Herr Bauer must therefore free the literary biography of “Criticism ”— which coincides exactly with his own literary biography—from its mass-like appearance; he must retrospectively improve and explain it and by this apologetic commentary “place its earlier works in safety”.

He begins by explaining by a double cause the error of the Mass, which until the end of the Deutsche Jahrbiicher and the Rheinische Zeitung 33 regarded Herr Bauer as one of its supporters. Firstly the mistake was made of regarding the literary movement as not “purely literary”. At the same time the opposite mistake was made, that of regarding the literary movement as “a merely” or “purely” literary movement. There is no doubt that the “Mass” was mistaken in any case, if only because it made two mutually incompatible errors at the same time.

Absolute Criticism takes this opportunity of exclaiming to those who ridiculed the “German nation” as a “blue stocking

“Name even a single historical epoch which was not authoritatively outlined beforehand by the ‘pen’ and had not to allow itself to be shat¬ tered by a stroke of the pen.”

In his Critical naivety Herr Bruno separates “the pen ” from the subject who writes, and the subject who writes as “abstract


writer ” from the living historical man who wrote. This allows him go into ecstasy over the wonder-working power of the “pen”. He might just as well have demanded to be told of a historical movement which was not outlined beforehand by “poultry” or the “goose girl”.

Later we shall be told by the same Herr Bruno that so far not one historical epoch, not a single one, has become known. How could the “ pen ”, which so far has been unable to outline “any single” historical epoch after the event, have been able to outline them all beforehand ?

Nevertheless, Herr Bruno proves the correctness of his view by deeds, by himself “outlining beforehand” his own “past” with apologetic “strokes of the pen”.

Criticism, which was involved on all sides not only in the general limitation of the world and of the epoch, but in quite particular and personal limitations, and which nevertheless assures us that it has been “absolute, perfect and pure ” Criticism in all its works for as long as man can think, has only accommodated itself to the prejudices and power of comprehension of the Mass, as God is wont to do in his revelations to man.

“It was bound to come,” Absolute Criticism informs us, “to a breach of Theory with its seeming ally.”

But because Criticism, here called Theory for a change, comes to nothing, but everything, on the contrary, comes from it; because it develops not inside but outside the world, and has predestined everything in its divine immutable consciousness, the breach with its former ally was a “new turn” only in appearance, only for others, not in itself and not for Criticism itself.

“But this turn ‘property speaking’ was not even new. Theory had continually worked on criticism of itself” (we know much effort has been expended on it to force it to criticise itself); “it had never flattered the Mass” (but itself all the more); “it had always taken care not to get itself ensnared in the premises of its opponent.”

“The Christian theologian must tread cautiously”. (Bruno Bauer, Das entdeckte Christenthum, p. 99.) How did it happen


that “cautious” Criticism nevertheless did get ensnared and did not already at that time express its “proper” meaning clearly and audibly? Why did it not speak out bluntly? Why did it let the illusion of its brotherhood with the Mass persist?

“ ‘Why hast thou done this to me?’ said Pharaoh to Abraham as he restored to him Sarah his wife. ‘Why didst thou say she was thy sister?’ ” (Das entdeckte Christenthum, by Bruno Bauer, p. 100.)

“ ‘Away with reason and language!’ says the theologian, ‘for other¬ wise Abraham would be a liar. It would be a mortal insult to Revela¬ tion!’ ” (loc. cit.)

“Away with reason and language!” says the Critic. For had Herr Bauer really and not just apparently been ensnared with the Mass, Absolute Criticism would not be absolute in its revela¬ tions, it would be mortally insulted.

“It is only," Absolute Criticism continues, “that its” (Absolute Criticism’s) “efforts had not been noticed, and there was moreover a stage of Criticism when it was forced sincerely to consider its opponent’s premises and to take them seriously for an instant; a stage, in short, when it was not yet fully capable of taking away from the Mass the latter’s conviction that it had the same cause and the same interest as Criticism.”

“ Criticism’s ” efforts had just not been noticed; therefore the Mass was to blame. On the other hand, Criticism admits that its efforts could not be noticed because it itself was not yet “ capable ” of making them noticeable. Criticism therefore appears to be to blame.

God help us! Criticism was “forced”—violence was used against it—“sincerely to consider its opponent’s premises and to take them seriously for an instant”. A fine sincerity, a truly theological sincerity, which does not really take a thing seriously but only '’’'takes it seriously for an instant which has always, therefore every instant, been careful not to get itself ensnared in its opponent’s premises, and nevertheless, “for an instant ” “sincere¬ ly” takes these very premises into consideration. Its “sincerity” is still greater in the closing part of the sentence. It was in the same instant when Criticism “sincerely took into consideration the pre¬ mises of the Mass” that it “was not yet fully capable ” of destroy-


ing the illusion about the unity of its cause and the cause of the Mass. It was not yet capable, but it already had the will and the thought of it. It could not yet outwardly break with the Mass but the break was already complete inside it, in its mind — complete in the same instant when it sincerely sympathised with the Mass!

In its involvement with the prejudices of the Mass, Criticism was not really involved in them-, on the contrary, it was, properly speaking, free from its own limitation and was only “ not yet completely capable” of informing the Mass of this. Hence all the limitation of “Criticism” was pure appearance; an appear¬ ance which without the limitation of the Mass would have been superfluous and would therefore not have existed at all. It is therefore again the Mass that is to blame.

Insofar as this appearance, however, was supported by “the inability”, “the impotence” of Criticism to express its thought, Criticism itself was imperfect. This it admits in its own way, which is as sincere as it is apologetic.

“In spite of having subjected liberalism itself to devastating crit¬ icism, it” (Criticism) “could still be regarded as a peculiar kind of liberal¬ ism, perhaps as its extreme form; in spite of its true and decisive arguments having gone beyond politics, it nevertheless was still bound to give an appearance of engaging in politics, and this incomplete appearance won it most of the friends mentioned above.”

Criticism won its friends through its incomplete appearance of engaging in politics. Had it completely appeared to engage in politics, it would inevitably have lost its political friends. In its apologetic anxiety to wash itself free of all sin, it accuses the false appearance of having been an incomplete false appearance, not a complete false one. By substituting one appearance for the other, “Criticism” can console itself with the thought that if it had the “complete appearance” of wishing to engage in politics, it does not have, on the other hand, even the “incomplete appear¬ ance” of anywhere or at any time having dissolved politics.

Not completely satisfied with the “incomplete appearance”, Absolute Criticism again asks itself:

“How did it happen that Criticism at that time became involved in



'mass-linked, political’ interests, that it — even ” (!) —“was obliged” (!)—“to engage in politics ” (!).

Bauer the theologian takes it as a matter of course that Crit¬ icism had to indulge endlessly in speculative theology for he, “Criticism”, is indeed a theologian ex professo. But to engage in politics ? That must be motivated by very special, political, personal circumstances!

Why, then, had “ Criticism ” to engage even in politics ? “It was accused— that is the answer to the question.” At least the “mystery” of “ Bauer’s politics ” is thereby disclosed; at least the appearance, which in Bruno Bauer’s Die gute Sache der Freiheit und meine eigene Sache links its “own cause” to the mass-linked “cause of freedom” by means of an “and”, cannot be called non¬ political. But if Criticism pursued not its “own cause ” in the interest of politics, but politics in the interest of its own cause, it must be admitted that not Criticism was taken in by politics, but politics by Criticism.

So Bruno Bauer was to be dismissed from his chair of theolo¬ gy 34 : he was accused; “Criticism ” had to engage in politics, that is to say, to conduct “ its ”, i.e., Bruno Bauer’s, suit. Herr Bauer did not conduct Criticism’s suit, “ Criticism ” conducted Herr Bauer’s suit. Why did “Criticism” have to conduct its suit?

“In order to justify itself!” It may well be; only “Criticism” is far from limiting itself to such a personal, vulgar reason. It may well be; but not solely for that reason, “ but mainly in order to bring out the contradictions of opponents”, and, Criticism could add, in order to have bound together in a single book old essays against various theologians—see among other things the wordy bickering with Planck ? 6 that family affair between Bauer-theol- ogy and Strajuss-theology.

Having got a load off its heart by admitting the real interest of its “politics”, Absolute Criticism remembers its “suit” and again chews the old Hegelian cud (see the struggle between Enlightenment and faith 36 in the Phanomenologie, see the whole of the Phanomenologie ) that “the old which resists the new is no longer really the old”, the cud which it has already chewed over at length in Die gute Sache der Freiheit. Critical Criticism


is a ruminant animal. It keeps on warming up a few crumbs dropped by Hegel, like the above-quoted proposition about the “old” and the “new”, or again that about the “development of the extreme out of its opposite extreme”, and the like, without ever feeling the need to deal with “ speculative dialectic ” in any other way than by the exhaustion of Professor Hinrichs. Hegel, on the contrary, it continually transcends “Critically” by re¬ peating him. For example:

“Criticism, by appearing and giving the investigation a new form, i.e., giving it the form which is no longer susceptible of being transformed into an external limitation,” etc.

When I transform something I make it something essentially different. Since every form is also an “external limitation ”, no form is “susceptible” of being transformed into an “external lim¬ itation” any more than an apple of being “transformed” into an apple. Admittedly, the form which “Criticism” gives to the investigation is not susceptible of being transformed into any “external limitation” for quite another reason. Beyond every “external limitation” it is blurred into an ash-grey, dark-blue vapour of nonsense.

“It” (the struggle between the old and the new) “would, however, be quite impossible even then” (namely at the moment when Criticism “gives” the investigation “the new form”) “if the old were to deal with the question of compatibility or incompatibility .. . theoretically.”

But why does not the old deal with this question theoretical¬ ly? Because “this, however, is least of all possible for it in the beginning, since at the moment of surprise” (i.e., in the begin¬ ning) it “knows neither itself nor the new”, i.e., it deals theoret¬ ically neither with itself nor with the new. It would be quite impossible if “impossibility”, unfortunately, were not impossible!

When the “Critic” from the theological faculty further “ad¬ mits that he erred intentionally, that he committed the mistake deliberately and after mature reflection” (all that Criticism has experienced, learnt, and done is transformed for it into a free, Pure and intentional product of its reflection) this confession of me Critic has only an “incomplete appearance” of truth. Since

  • -1552


the Kritik der Synoptiker a has a completely theological founda¬ tion, since it is through and through theological criticism, Herr Bauer, university lecturer in theology, could write and teach it “without mistake or error”. The mistake and error were rather on the part of the theological faculties, which did not realise how strictly Herr Bauer had kept his promise, the promise he gave in Kritik der Synoptiker, Bd. I, Foreword, p. xxiii.

“If the negation may appear still too sharp and far-reaching in this first volume too, we must remember that the truly positive can be born only if the negation has been serious and general. ... In the end it will be seen that only the most devastating criticism of the world can teach us the creative power of Jesus and of his principle.”

Herr Bauer intentionally separates the Lord “Jesus” and his “principle” in order to free the positive meaning of his promise from all semblance of ambiguity. And Herr Bauer has really made the “ creative ” power of the Lord Jesus and of his principle so evident that his “ infinite self-consciousness” and the “Spirit” are nothing but creations of Christianity.

If Critical Criticism’s dispute with the Bonn theological fa¬ culty explained so well its “politics” at that time, why did Crit¬ ical Criticism continue to engage in politics after the dispute had been settled? Listen to this:

“At this point ‘Criticism’ should have either come to a halt or im¬ mediately proceeded further to examine the essence of politics and depict it as its adversary;—if only it had been possible for it to be able to come to a halt in the struggle at that time and if, on the other hand, there had not been a far too strict historical law that when a principle mea¬ sures itself for the first time with its opposite it must let itself be repressed by it_”

What a delightful apologetic phrase! “Criticism should have come to a halt” if only it had been possible ... “to be able to come to a halt”! Who “should” come to a halt? And who should have done what “it would not have been possible ... to be able to do”? On the other hand! Criticism should have proceeded “if only, on the other hand, there had not been a far too strict

  • B. Bauer, Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte der Synoptiker. — Ed-


historical law,” etc. Historical laws are also “ far too strict ” with Absolute Criticism! If only they did not stand on the opposite side to Critical Criticism, how brilliantly the latter would pro¬ ceed! But a la guerre comme a la guerre ! In history, Critical Criticism must allow itself to be made a sorry “story” of!

“If Criticism” (still Herr Bauer) “had to ... it will at the same time be admitted that it always felt uncertain when it gave in to de¬ mands of this” (political) “kind, and that as a result of these demands it came into contradiction with its true elements, a contradiction that had already found its solution in those elements."

Criticism was forced into political weaknesses by the all too strict laws of history, but—it entreats —it will at the same time be admitted that it was above those weaknesses, if not in reality, at least in itself. Firstly, it had overcome them “in feeling", for “it always felt uncertain in its demands”; it felt ill at ease in politics, it could not make out what was the matter with it. More than that! It came into contradiction with its true elements. And finally the greatest thing of all! The contradiction with its true elements into which it came found its solution not in the course of Criticism’s development, but “had", on the contrary, “already ” found its solution in Criticism’s true elements existing independently of the contradiction! These Critical elements can claim with pride: before Abraham was, we were. Before the op¬ posite to us was produced by development, it lay yet unborn in our chaotic womb, dissolved, dead, ruined. But since Criti¬ cism’s contradiction with its true elements “had already found its solution” in the true elements of Criticism, and since a solved contradiction is not a contradiction, it found itself, to be precise, in no contradiction with its true elements, in no contradiction with itself, and—the general aim of self-apology seems attained.

Absolute Criticism’s self-apology has a whole apologetical dic¬ tionary at its disposal:

not even properly speaking”, “only not noticed”, “there was besides”, not yet complete”, “although—nevertheless”, “not only—but mainly”. Just as much, properly speaking, only”, “Criticism should have if only 't had been possible and if on the other hand”, “if ... it will at the same


time be admitted”, “was it not natural, was it not inevitable”, “neith¬ er . .etc.

Not so very long ago Absolute Criticism said the following about apologetic phrases of this kind:

“ ‘Although’ and ‘nevertheless’, ‘indeed’ and ‘but’, a heavenly ‘Nay’, and an earthly ‘Yea’, are the main pillars of modern theology, the stilts on which it strides along, the artifice to which its whole wisdom is re¬ duced, the phrase which recurs in all its phrases, its alpha and omega” (Das entdeckte Christenthum, p. 102).

b) The Jewish Question No. 3

“Absolute Criticism” does not stop at proving by its auto¬ biography its own singular almightiness which “ properly speak¬ ing, first creates the old, just as much as the new". It does not i stop at writing in person the apology of its past. It now sets third persons, the rest of the secular world, the Absolute “Task”, j the “task which is much more important now", the apologia for I Bauer’s deeds and “works”.

The Deutsch-Franzosische Jahrbiicher published a criticism of Herr Bauer’s Die Judenfrage." His basic error, the confusion of “political ” with “ human emancipation”, was revealed. True, the ,] old Jewish question was not first brought into its “correct set¬ ting", the “Jewish question” was rather dealt with and solved in the setting which recent developments have given to old ques- I tions of the day, and as a result of which the latter have become “questions” of the present instead of “questions” of the past.

Absolute Criticism’s third campaign, it seems, is intended to reply to the Deutsch-Franzosische Jahrbiicher. First of all, Abso¬ lute Criticism admits:

“In Die Judenfrage the same 'oversight' was made—that of identi¬ fying the human with the political essence.”

Criticism remarks:

“it would be too late to reproach criticism for the stand which it still maintained partially two years ago.” “The question is rather to explain why criticism . . . even had to engage in politics.”

a K. Marx, On the Jewish Question. See K. Marx and F. Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 3.— Ed.


“Two years ago?” We must reckon according to the absolute chronology, from the birth of the Critical Redeemer of the world, Bauer’s Literatur-Zeitung\ The Critical world redeemer was born anno 1843. In the same year the second, enlarged edition of Die Judenfrage was published. The “Critical” treatment of the “Jewish question” in Einundzwanzig Bogen aus der Schweiz appeared later in the same year, 1843 old style. 37 After the end of the Deutsche Jahrbiicher and the Rheinische Zeitung, in the same momentous year 1843 old style, or anno 1 of the Critical era, appeared Herr Bauer’s fantastic-political work Staat, Reli¬ gion und Parthei, which exactly repeated his old errors on the “political essence”. The apologist is forced to falsify chronology.

The “ explanation ” why Herr Bauer “even had to ” engage in politics is a matter of general interest only under certain condi¬ tions. If the infallibility, purity and absoluteness of Critical Criti¬ cism are assumed as basic dogma, then, of course, the facts con¬ tradicting that dogma turn into riddles which are just as difficult, profound and mysterious as the apparently ungodly deeds of God are for theologians.

If, on the other hand, “the Critic ” is considered as a finite individual, if he is not separated from the limitations of his time, one does not have to answer the question why he had to develop even within the world, because the question itself does not exist.

If, however, Absolute Criticism insists on its demand, one can offer to provide a little scholastic treatise dealing with the fol¬ lowing “questions of the times":

“Why had the Virgin Mary’s conception by the Holy Ghost to be proved by no other than Herr Bruno Bauer?” “Why had Herr Bauer to prove that the angel that appeared to Abraham was a real emanation of God, an emanation which, nevertheless, lacked the consistency necessary to digest food?" “Why had Herr Bauer to provide an apologia for the Prussian royal house and to raise the Prussian state to the rank of absolute state?” “Why had Herr Bauer, in his Kritik der Synoptiker, to substitute ‘in¬ finite self-consciousness’ for man?” “Why had Herr Bauer in his Das entdeckte Christenthum to repeat the Christian theory of weation in a Hegelian form?” “Why had Herr Bauer to demand


of himself and others an ‘explanation’ of the miracle that he was bound to be mistaken?”

While waiting for proofs of these necessities, which are just as “Critical” as they are “Absolute”, let us listen once more to “ Criticism’s ” apologetic evasions.

“The Jewish question . . . had . . . first to be brought into its correct setting, as a religious and theological and as a political question.” “As to the treatment and solution of both these questions, Criticism is neither religious nor political.”

The point is that the Deutsch-Franzdsische Jahrbiicher de¬ clares Bauer’s treatment of the “Jewish question” to be really theological and fantastic-political.

First, "Criticism” replies to the “reproach” of theological lim¬ itation.

“The Jewish question is a religious question. The Enlightenment claimed to solve it bv describing the religious contradiction as insignif¬ icant or even by denying it. Criticism, on the contrary, had to present it in its purity.”

When we come to the political part of the Jewish question we shall see that in politics, too, Herr Bauer the theologian is not concerned with politics but with theology.

But when the Deutsch-Franzdsisclie Jahrbiicher attacked his treatment of the Jewish question as “ purely religious ”, it was con¬ cerned especially with his article in Einundzwanzig Bogen, the title of which was:

“Die Fahigkeit der heutigen Juden und Christen, frei zu werden ”. a

This article has nothing to do with the old “Enlightenment”. It contains Herr Bauer’s positive view on the ability of the present- day Jews to be emancipated, that is, on the possibility of their emancipation.

“Criticism” says:

“The Jewish question is a religious question.”

a “The Ability of Present-Day Jews and Christians to Obtain Free¬ dom.”— Ed.


The question is: What is a religious question? and, in partic¬ ular, what is a religious question today?

The theologian will judge by appearances and see a religious question in a religious question. But “Criticism” must remember the explanation it gave Professor Hinrichs that the political in¬ terests of the present time have social significance, that it is “no longer a question” of political interests .*

The Deutsch-Franzosische ]ahrbiicher with equal right said to Criticism: Religious questions of the day have at the present time a social significance. It is no longer a question of religious interests as such. Only the theologian can believe it is a question of religion as religion. Granted, the Jahrbiicher committed the error of not stopping at the word “social". It characterised the real position of the Jews in civil society today. Once Jewry was stripped bare of the religious shell and its empirical, worldly, practical kernel was revealed, the practical, really social way in which this kernel is to be abolished could be indicated. Herr Bauer was content with “a religious question” being a “religious question”.

It was by no means denied, as Herr Bauer makes out, that the Jewish question is also a religious question. On the contrary, it was shown that Herr Bauer grasps only the religious essence of Jewry, but not the secular, real basis of that religious essence. He combats religious consciousness as if it were something independ¬ ent. Herr Bauer therefore explains the real Jews by the Jewish religion, instead of explaining the mystery of the Jewish religion by the real Jews. Herr Bauer therefore understands the Jews only insofar as he is an immediate object of theology or a theologian.

Consequently Herr Bauer has no inkling that real secular Jewry, and hence religious Jewry too, is being continually pro¬ duced by the present-day civil life and finds its final develop¬ ment in the money system. He could not have any inkling of this because he did not know Jewry as a part of the real world but only as a part of his world, theology; because he, a pious, godly man, considers not the active everyday Jew but the hypo-

See pp. 113-H of this edition.— Ed ,


critical Jew of the Sabbath to be the real Jew. For Herr Bauer, as a theologian of the Christian faith, the world-historic signif¬ icance of Jewry had to cease the moment Christianity was born. Hence he had to repeat the old orthodox view that it has main¬ tained itself in spite of history; and the old theological supersti¬ tion that Jewry exists only as a confirmation of the divine curse, as a tangible proof of the Christian revelation had to recur with him in the Critical-theological form that it exists and has existed only as crude religious doubt about the supernatural origin of Christianity, i.e., as a tangible proof against Christian revelation.

On the other hand, it was proved that Jewry has maintained itself and developed through history, in and with history, and that this development is to be perceived not by the eye of the theologian, but only by the eye of the man of the world, because it is to be found, not in religious theory, but only in commercial and industrial practice. It was explained why practical Jewry at¬ tains its full development only in the fully developed Christian world, why indeed it is the fully developed practice of the Chris¬ tian world itself. The existence of the present-day Jew was not explained by his religion—as though this religion were something apart, independently existing—but the tenacious survival of the Jewish religion was explained by practical features of civil society which are fantastically reflected in that religion. The emancipa¬ tion of the Jews into human beings, or the human emancipa¬ tion of Jewry, was therefore not conceived, as by Herr Bauer, ] as the special task of the Jews, but as a general practical task of the present-day world, which is Jewish to the core. It was proved that the task of abolishing the essence of Jewry is actually the task of abolishing the Jewish character of civil society, abol¬ ishing the inhumanity of the present-day practice of life, the most extreme expression of which is the money system.

Herr Bauer, as a genuine, although Critical, theologian or theological Critic, could not get beyond the religious contradic¬ tion. In the attitude of the Jews to the Christian world he could see only the attitude of the Jewish religion to the Christian reli¬ gion. He even had to restore the religious contradiction in a Critical way —in the antithesis between the attitudes of the Jew



and the Christian to Critical religion— atheism, the last stage of theism, the negative recognition of God. Finally, in his theological fanaticism he had to restrict the ability of the “present-day Jews and Christians”, i.e., of the present-day world, “to obtain free¬ dom” to their ability to grasp “the Criticism” of theology and apply it themselves. For the orthodox theologian the whole world is dissolved in “religion and theology”. (He could just as well dissolve it in politics, political economy, etc., and call theology heavenly political economy, for example, since it is the theory of the production, distribution, exchange and consumption of “spiritual wealth” and of the treasures of heaven!) Similarly, for the radical, Critical theologian, the ability of the world to achieve freedom, is dissolved in the single abstract ability to criticise “religion and theology” as “religion and theology”. The only struggle he knows is the struggle against the religious limi¬ tations of self-consciousness, whose Critical “ purity” and “ infini¬ ty ” is just as much a theological limitation.

Herr Bauer, therefore, dealt with the religious and theolog¬ ical question in the religious and theological way, if only because he saw in the “religious” question of the time a “ purely reli¬ gious” question. His “ correct setting of the question” set the ques¬ tion “correctly” only in respect of his 11 own ability ”—to answer!

Let us now go on to the political part of the Jewish question.

The Jews (like the Christians) are fully politically emanci¬ pated in various states. Both Jews and Christians are far from being humanly emancipated. Hence there must be a difference between political and human emancipation. The essence of po¬ litical emancipation, i.e., of the developed, modern state, must therefore be studied. On the other hand, states which cannot yet politically emancipate the Jews must be rated by comparison with the perfected political state and shown to be under-devel¬ oped states.

That is the point of view from which the “ political emancipa¬ tion” of the Jews should have been dealt with and is dealt with in the Deutsch-Franzosische Jahrbucher.

Herr Bauer offers the following defence of “Criticism’s” Die Judenfrage.



“The Jews were shown that they laboured under an illusion about the system from which they demanded freedom.”

Herr Bauer did show that the illusion of the German Jews was to demand the right to partake in the political community life in a land where there was no political community and to demand political rights where only political privileges existed. On the other hand, Herr Bauer was shown that he himself, no less than the Jews, laboured under “illusions” about the “German political system”. For he explained the position of the Jews in the German states as being due to the inability of “ the Christian state ” to emancipate the Jews politically. Flying in the face of the facts, he depicted the state of privilege, the Christian-Ger- manic state, as the Absolute Christian state. It was proved to him, on the contrary, that the politically perfected, modern state that knows no religious privileges is also the fully developed Christian state, and that therefore the fully developed Christian state, not only can emancipate the Jews but has emancipated them and by its very nature must emancipate them.

“The Jews are shown . . . that they are under the greatest illusion about themselves when they think they are demanding freedom and the recognition of free humanity, whereas for them it is, and can be, only a question of a special privilege."

Freedom! Recognition of free humanity! Special privilege! Edi¬ fying words by which to by-pass certain questions apologetically!

Freedom? It was a question of political freedom. Herr Bauer was shown that when the Jew demands freedom and neverthe¬ less refuses to renounce his religion, he “is engaging in politics ” and sets no condition that is contrary to political freedom. Herr Bauer was shown that it is by no means contrary to political emancipation to divide man into the non-religious citizen and the religious private individual. He was shown that just as the state emancipates itself from religion by emancipating itself from state religion and leaving religion to itself within civil society, so the individual emancipates himself politically from religion by re¬ garding it no longer as a public matter but as a private matter. Finally, it was shown that the terroristic attitude of the French


Revolution to religion, far from refuting this conception, bears it out.

Instead of studying the real attitude of the modern state to religion, Herr Bauer thought it necessary to imagine a Critical state, a state which is nothing but the Critic of theology inflated into a state in Herr Bauer’s imagination. If Herr Bauer is caught up in politics he continually makes politics a prisoner of his faith, Critical faith. Insofar as he deals with the state he always makes out of it an argument against “the adversary”, un-Critical religion and theology. The state acts as executor of Critical- theological cherished desires.

When Herr Bauer had first freed himself from orthodox, un-Critical theology, political authority took for him the place of religious authority. His faith in Jehovah changed into faith in the Prussian state. In Bruno Bauer’s work Die evangelische Landeskirche, B not only the Prussian state, but, quite consistent¬ ly, the Prussian royal house too, was made into an absolute. In reality Herr Bauer had no political interest in that state; its merit, in the eyes of “Criticism”, was rather that it abolished dogmas by means of the Unified Church 38 and suppressed the dissenting sects with the help of the police.

The political movement that began in the year 1840 re¬ deemed Herr Bauer from his conservative politics and raised him for a moment to liberal politics. But here again politics was in reality only a pretext for theology. In his work Die gute Sache der Freiheit und meine eigene Angelegenheit, the free state is the Critic of the theological faculty in Bonn and an argument against religion. In Die Judenfrage the contradiction between state and religion is the main interest, so that the criticism of political emancipation changes into a criticism of the Jewish religion. In his latest political work, Staat, Religion und Parthei, the most secret cherished desire of the Critic inflated into a state is at last expressed. Religion is sacrificed to the state or rather the state is only the means by which the opponent of “ Criticism ”, un-

a [B. Bauer,] Die evangelische Landeskirche PreuBens und die Wis- senschaft. — Ed.


Critical religion and theology, is done to death. Finally, after Criticism has been redeemed, if only apparently, from all politics by the socialist ideas, which have been spreading in Germany from 1843 onwards, in the same way as it was redeemed from its conservative politics by the political movement after 1840, it is finally able to proclaim its writings against un-Critical theology to be social and to indulge unhindered in its own Critical theol¬ ogy, the contrasting of Spirit and Mass, as the annunciation of the Critical Saviour and Redeemer of the world.

Let us return to our subject!

Recognition of free humanity? “Free humanity”, recognition of which the Jews did not merely think they wanted, but really did want, is the same “free humanity” which found classic rec¬ ognition in the so-called universal rights of man. Herr Bauer himself explicitly treated the Jews’ efforts for recognition of their free humanity as their efforts to obtain the universal rights of man.

In the Deutsch-Franzosische fahrbiicher it was demonstrated to Herr Bauer that this “free humanity” and the “recognition” of it are nothing but the recognition of the egoistic civil individ¬ ual and of the unrestrained movement of the spiritual and mate¬ rial elements which are the content of his life situation, the content of present-day civil life; that the rights of man do not, therefore, free man from religion, but give him freedom of reli¬ gion; that they do not free him from property, but procure for him freedom of property; that they do not free him from the filth of gain, but rather give him freedom of gainful occupation.

It was shown that the recognition of the rights of man by the modern state has no other meaning than the recognition of slavery by the state of antiquity had. In other words, just as the ancient state had slavery as its natural basis, the modern state has as its natural basis civil society and the man of civil society, i.e., the independent man linked with other men only by the ties of private interest and unconscious natural necessity, the slave of labour for gain and of his own as well as other men’s selfish need. The modern state has recognised this its natural basis as such in the universal rights of man. It did not create it. As


it was the product of civil society driven beyond the old political bonds by its own development, the modern state, for its part, now recognised the womb from which it sprang and its basis by the declaration of the rights of man. Hence, the political eman¬ cipation of the Jews and the granting to them of the “ rights of man'” is an act the two sides of which are mutually dependent. Herr Riesser correctly expresses the meaning of the Jews’ desire for recognition of their free humanity when he demands, among other things, the freedom of movement, sojourn, travel, earning one’s living, etc. These manifestations of “free humanity ” are explicitly recognised as such in the French Declaration of the Rights of Man. The Jew has all the more right to the recogni¬ tion of his “free humanity” as “free civil society” is of a thorough¬ ly commercial and Jewish nature, and the Jew is a necessary member of it. The Deutsch-Franzdsische Jahrbiicher further dem¬ onstrated why the member of civil society is called, par ex¬ cellence, “Man” and why the rights of man are called “inborn rights”.

The only Critical thing Criticism could say about the rights of man was that they are not inborn but arose in the course of history. That much Hegel had already told us. Finally, to its assertion that both Jews and Christians, in order to grant or receive the universal rights of man, must sacrifice the privilege of faith —the Critical theologian supposes his one fixed idea at the basis of all things—there was specially counterposed the fact contained in all un-Critical declarations of the rights of man that the right to believe what one wishes, the right to practise any religion, is explicitly recognised as a universal right of man. Besides, “ Criticism ” should have known that Hebert’s party in particular was defeated on the pretext that it attacked the rights of man by attacking freedom of religion , 89 and that similarly the rights of man were invoked later when freedom of worship was restored. 40

“As far as political essence is concerned, Criticism followed its contra¬ dictions to the point where the contradiction between theory and practice had been most thoroughly elaborated during the past fifty years—to the French representative system, in which the freedom of theory is dis-


avowed by practice and the freedom of practical life seeks in vain its expression in theory.

“Now that the basic illusion has been done away with, the contra¬ diction proved in the debates in the French Chamber, the contradiction between free theory and the practical validity of privileges, between the legal validity of privileges and a public system in which the egoism of the pure individual tries to dominate the exclusivity of the privileged, should be conceived as a general contradiction in this sphere.”

The contradiction that Criticism proved in the debates in the French Chamber was nothing but a contradiction of constitution¬ alism. Had Criticism grasped it as a general contradiction it would have grasped the general contradiction of constitution¬ alism. Had it gone still further than in its opinion it “should have” gone, had it, to be precise, gone as far as the abolition of this general contradiction, it would have proceeded correctly from constitutional monarchy to arrive at the democratic repre¬ sentative state, the perfected modern state. Far from having crit¬ icised the essence of political emancipation and proved its defi¬ nite relation to the essence of man, it would have arrived only at the fact of political emancipation, at the fully developed modern state, that is to say, only at the point where the existence of the modern state conforms to its essence and where, therefore, not only the relative, but the absolute imperfections, those which constitute its very essence, can be observed and described.

The above-quoted “Critical” passage is all the more valuable as it proves beyond any doubt that at the very moment when Criticism sees the “ political essence” far below itself, it is, on the contrary, far below the political essence; it still needs to find in the latter the solution of its own contradictions and it still per¬ sists in not giving a thought to the modern principle of the state.

To “ free theory" Criticism contrasts the “ practical validity of privileges to the “ legal validity of privileges ” it contrasts the “public system”.

In order not to misinterpret the opinion of Criticism, let us recall the contradiction it proved in the debates in the French Chamber, the very contradiction which “should have been con¬ ceived” as a general one. One of the questions dealt with was the fixing of a day in the week on which children would be freed


from work. Sunday was suggested. One deputy moved to leave out mention of Sunday in the law as being unconstitutional. The Minister Martin (du Nord) saw in this motion an attempt to proclaim that Christianity had ceased to exist. Monsieur Cre- mieux declared on behalf of the French Jews that the Jews, out of respect for the religion of the great majority of Frenchmen, did not object to Sunday being mentioned. Now, according to free theory, Jews and Christians are equal, but according to this practice Christians have a privilege over Jews; for otherwise how could the Sunday of the Christians have a place in a law made for all Frenchmen? Should not the Jewish Sabbath have the same right, etc.? Or in the practical life of the French too, the Jew is not really oppressed by Christian privileges; but the law does not dare to express this practical equality. All the con¬ tradictions in the political essence expounded by Herr Bauer in Die Judenfrage are of this kind—contradictions of constitution¬ alism, which is, in general, the contradiction between the modern representative state and the old state of privileges.

Herr Bauer is committing a very serious oversight when he thinks he is rising from the political to the human essence by conceiving and criticising this contradiction as a “general” one. He would thus only rise from partial political emancipation to full political emancipation, from the constitutional state to the democratic representative state.

Herr Bauer thinks that by the abolition of privilege the object of privilege is also abolished. Concerning the statement of Mon¬ sieur Martin (du Nord), he says:

“There is no longer any religion when there is no longer any privi¬ leged religion. Take from religion its exclusive power and it will no longer exist.”*

Just as industrial activity is not abolished when the privileges of the trades, guilds and corporations are abolished, but, on the

  • This passage from B. Bauer’s Die Judenfrage (p. 66) is quoted by

Marx in his article “On the Jewish Question” (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 3, p. 149).— Ed.


contrary, real industry begins only after the abolition of these privileges; just as ownership of the land is not abolished when privileged landownership is abolished, but, on the contrary, begins its universal movement only with the abolition of privileges and with the free division and free sale of land; just as trade is not abolished by the abolition of trade privileges, but finds its true realisation in free trade; so religion develops in its practical universality only where there is no privileged religion (cf. the North American States).

The modern “public system ”, the developed modern state, is not based, as Criticism thinks, on a society of privileges, but on a society in which privileges have been abolished and dis¬ solved, on developed civil society in which the vital elements which were still politically bound under the privilege system have been set free. Here no “privileged exclusivity ” stands opposed either to any other exclusivity or to the public system. Free in¬ dustry and free trade abolish privileged exclusivity and thereby the struggle between the privileged exclusivities. They replace ex¬ clusivity with man freed from privilege—which isolates from the general totality but at the same time unites in a smaller exclusive totality—man no longer bound to other men even by the sem¬ blance of a common bond. Thus they produce the universal struggle of man against man, individual against individual. In the same way civil society as a whole is this war against one another of all individuals, who are no longer isolated from one another by anything but their individuality, and the universal unre¬ strained movement of the elementary forces of life freed from the fetters of privilege. The contradiction between the democratic representative state and civil society is the completion of the classic contradiction between public commonweal and slavery. In the modern world each person is at the same time a member of slave society and of the public commonweal. Precisely the slavery of civil society is in appearance the greatest freedom be¬ cause it is in appearance the fully developed independence of the individual, who considers as his own freedom the uncurbed movement, no longer bound by a common bond or by man, of the estranged elements of his life, such as property, industry,


religion, etc., whereas actually this is his fully developed slavery and inhumanity. Law has here taken the place of privilege.

It is therefore only here, where we find no contradiction be¬ tween free theory and the practical validity of privilege, but, on the contrary, the practical abolition of privilege, free industry, free trade, etc., conform to “free theory”, where the public sys¬ tem is not opposed by any privileged exclusivity, where the con¬ tradiction expounded by Criticism is abolished —only here is the fully developed modern state to be found.

Here also reigns the reverse of the law which Herr Bauer, on the occasion of the debates in the French Chamber, formu¬ lated in perfect agreement with Monsieur Martin (du Nord):

“Just as M. Martin (du Nord) saw the proposal to omit mention of Sunday in the law as a motion to declare that Christianity has ceased to exist, with equal reason ( and this reason is very well founded )—the declaration that the law of the Sabbath is no longer binding on the Jews would be a proclamation abolishing Judaism."*

It is just the opposite in the developed modern state. The state declares that religion, like the other elements of civil life, only begins to exist in its full scope when the state declares it to be non-political and therefore leaves it to itself. To the dis¬ solution of the political existence of these elements, as for ex¬ ample, the dissolution of property by the abolition of the proper¬ ty qualification for electors, the dissolution of religion by the abo¬ lition of the state church, to this proclamation of their civil death corresponds their most vigorous life, which henceforth obeys its own laws undisturbed and develops to its full scope.

Anarchy is the law of civil society emancipated from divisive privileges, and the anarchy of civil society is the basis of the modern public system, just as the public system in its turn is the guarantee of that anarchy. To the same great extent that the two are opposed to each other they also determine each other.

It is clear how capable Criticism is of assimilating the “new”.

  • This passage from B. Bauer’s Die Judenfrage (p. 71) is quoted by

Marx in his article “On the Jewish Question” (see K. Marx and F. En¬ gels, Collected Works, Vol. 3, p. 149).— Ed.

1(> -i«2


But if we remain within the bounds of “pure Criticism”, the ques¬ tion arises: Why did Criticism not conceive as a universal con¬ tradiction the contradiction which it disclosed in connection with the debates in the French Chamber, although in its own opinion that is what “ should have" been done?

“That step was, however, then impossible —not only because ... not only because ... but also because without that last remnant of inner involvement with its opposite Criticism was impossible and could not have come to the point from which only one step remained to be taken.”®

It was impossible ... because ... it was impossible! Criticism assures us, moreover, that the fateful “ one step ” necessary “to come to the point from which only one step remained to be taken” was impossible. Who will dispute that? In order to be able to come to a point from which only “one step" remains to be taken, it is absolutely impossible to take that “one step” more which leads over the point beyond which still “one step ” re¬ mains to be taken.

All’s well that ends well! At the end of the encounter with the Mass, which is hostile to Criticism’s Die Judenfrage, “ Critic¬ ism ” admits that its conception of the “rights of man ”, its

“appraisal of religion in the French Revolution”, the “free political es¬ sence it pointed to occasionally at the conclusion of its consideration”, in short, the whole “period of the French Revolution, was for Criticism neither more nor less than a symbol—that is to say, not the period of the revolutionary efforts of the French in the exact and prosaic sense— a symbol and therefore only a fantastic expression of the shapes which it saw at the end”.

We shall not deprive Criticism of the consolation that when it sinned politically it did so only at the “conclusion” and at the “end” of its works. A notorious drunkard used to console himself with the thought that he was never drunk before midnight.

In the sphere of the “Jewish question”, Criticism has indis¬ putably been winning more and more ground from the Enemy.

® Here and below quotations are taken from the article “Was ist jetzt der Gegenstand der Kritik ?” (Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft VIII).—Ed.


In No. 1 of the “Jewish question,” the treatise of “Criticism’’’ defended by Herr Bauer was still absolute and revealed the “true” and “ general ” significance of the “Jewish question”. In No. 2 Criticism had neither the “will” nor the “right” to go beyond Criticism. In No. 3 it had still to take “ one step”, but that step was “impossible”—because it was—“impossible”. It was not its “will or right” but its involvement in its “opposite” that prevented it from taking that “ one step”. It would very much have liked to clear the last obstacle, but unfortunately a last remnant of Mass stuck to its Critical seven-league boots.

c) Critical Battle against the French Revolution

The narrow-mindedness of the Mass forced the “Spirit”, Criticism , Herr Bauer, to consider the French Revolution not as the time of the revolutionary efforts of the French in the “ prosaic sense” but “only” as the “symbol and fantastic expression” of the Critical figments of his own brain. Criticism does penance for its “ oversight ” by submitting the Revolution to a fresh exam¬ ination. At the same time it punishes the seducer of its innocence— “the Mass”—by communicating to it the results of this “fresh examination”.

“The French Revolution was an experiment which still belonged entirely to the eighteenth century.”

The chronological truth that an experiment of the eighteenth century like the French Revolution is still entirely an experi¬ ment of the eighteenth century, and not, for example, an experi¬ ment of the nineteenth, seems “still entirely” to be one of those truths which “are self-evident from the start”. But in the termino¬ logy of Criticism , which is very prejudiced against “crystal-clear” truths, a truth like that is called an “ examination ” and there¬ fore naturally has its place in a “fresh examination of the Rev¬ olution”.

“The ideas to which the French Revolution gave rise did not, how¬ ever, lead beyond the order of things that it wanted to abolish by force.”

10 *


Ideas can never lead beyond an old world order but only beyond the ideas of the old world order. Ideas cannot carry out anything at all. In order to carry out ideas men are needed who can exert practical force. In its literal sense the Critical sentence is therefore another truth that is self-evident, and therefore ano¬ ther “examination”.

Undeterred by this examination, the French Revolution gave rise to ideas which led beyond the ideas of the entire old world order. The revolutionary movement which began in 1789 in the Cercle social, 11 which in the middle of its course had as its chief representatives Leclerc and Roux, and which finally with Babeuf’s conspiracy was temporarily defeated, gave rise to the communist idea which Babeuf s friend Buonarroti re-introduced in France after the Revolution of 1830. This idea, consistently developed, is the idea of the new world order.

“After the Revolution had therefore” (!) “abolished the feudal bar¬ riers in the life of the people, it was compelled to satisfy and even to inflame the pure egoism of the nation and, on the other hand, to curb it by its necessary complement, the recognition of a supreme being, by this higher confirmation pf the general state system, which has to hold together the individual self-seeking atoms.”

The egoism of the nation is the natural egoism of the general state system, as opposed to the egoism of the feudal classes. The supreme being is the higher confirmation of the general state sys¬ tem, and hence also of the nation. Nevertheless, the supreme being is supposed to curb the egoism of the nation, that is, of the general state system! A really Critical task, to curb egoism by means of its confirmation and even of its religious confirma¬ tion, i.e., by recognising that it is of a superhuman nature and therefore free of human restraint! The creators of the supreme being were not aware of this, their Critical intention.

Monsieur Buchez, who bases national fanaticism on religious fanaticism, understands his hero Robespierre better. 12

Nationalism [Nationality] led to the downfall of Rome and Greece. Criticism therefore says nothing specific about the French Revolution when it maintains that nationalism caused its down-


fall, and it says just as little about the nation when it defines its egoism as pure. This pure egoism appears rather to be a very dark, spontaneous egoism, combined with flesh and blood, when compared, for example, with the pure egoism of Fichte’s “ego”. But if, in contrast to the egoism of the feudal classes, its purity is only relative, no “fresh examination of the revolution” was needed to see that the egoism which has a nation as its content is more general or purer than that which has as its content a particular social class or a particular corporation.

Criticism’s explanations about the general state system are no less instructive. They are confined to saying that the general state system must hold together the individual self-seeking atoms.

Speaking exactly and in the prosaic sense, the members of civil society are not atoms. The specific property of the atom is that it has no properties and is therefore not connected with beings outside it by any relationship determined by its own na¬ tural necessity. The atom has no needs, it is self-sufficient; the world outside it is an absolute vacuum, i.e., is contentless, sense¬ less, meaningless, just because the atom has all fullness in itself. The egoistic individual in civil society may in his non-sensuous imagination and lifeless abstraction inflate himself into an atom, i.e., into an unrelated, self-sufficient, wantless, absolutely full, blessed being. Unblessed sensuous reality does not bother about his imagination, each of his senses compels him to believe in the existence® of the world and of individuals outside him, and even his profane stomach reminds him every day that the world outside him is not empty, but is what really fills. Every activity and prop¬ erty of his being, every one of his vital urges, becomes a need, a necessity, which his self-seeking transforms into seeking for other things and human beings outside him. But since the need of one individual has no self-evident meaning for another egoi¬ stic individual capable of satisfying that need, and therefore no direct connection with its satisfaction, each individual has to

a There is evidently an error in the original “an den Sinn” instead of “an das Sein”.— Ed.


create this connection; it thus becomes the intermediary between the need of another and the objects of this need. Therefore, it is natural necessity, the essential human properties however estranged they may seem to be, and interest that hold the members of civil society together; civil, not political life is their real tie. It is therefore not the state that holds the atoms of civil society together, but the fact that they are atoms only in imagination, in the heaven of their fancy, but in reality beings tremendously dif¬ ferent from atoms, in other words, not divine egoists, but egoistic human beings. Only political superstition still imagines today that civil life must be held together by the state, whereas in reality, on the contrary, (the state is held together by civil life.

‘‘Robespierre's and Saint-Just’s tremendous idea of making a ‘free popple’ which would live only according to the rules of justice and vir¬ tue —see, for example, Saint-Just’s report on Danton’s crimes and his other report on the general police—could be maintained for a certain time only by terror and was a contradiction against which the vulgar, self-seeking elements of the popular community reacted in the cowardly and insidious way that was only to be expected from them.”

This phrase of Absolute Criticism, which describes a “free people” as a “ contradiction ” against which the elements of the “popular community” are bound to react, is absolutely hollow, for according to Robespierre and Saint-Just liberty, justice and virtue could, on the contrary, be only manifestations of the life of the “ people ” and only properties of the “popular communi¬ ty”. Robespierre and Saint-Just spoke explicitly of “liberty, justice and virtue” of ancient times , belonging only to the “popular community ”. Spartans, Athenians and Romans at the time of their greatness were “free, just and virtuous peoples”.

“What,” asks Robespierre in his speech on the principles of public morals (sitting of the Convention on February 5, 17941, “is the funda¬ mental principle of democratic or popular government? It is virtue , I mean public virtue, which worked such miracles in Greece and Rome and which work still greater ones in republican France; virtue which is nothing but love of one’s country and its laws.” 41


Robespierre then explicitly calls the Athenians and Spartans “peuples lib res” 3 He continually recalls the ancient popular com¬ munity and quotes its heroes as well as its corrupters—Lycurgus, Demosthenes, Miltiades, Aristides, Brutus and Gatilina, Caesar, Clodius and Piso.

In his report on Danton’s arrest (referred to by Criticism) Saint-Just says explicitly:

“The world has been empty since the Romans, and only their memory fills it and still prophesies liberty.’"*

His accusation is composed in the ancient style and directed against Danton as against Catilina.

In Saint-Just’s other report, the one on the general police,* 6 the republican is described exactly in the ancient sense, as in¬ flexible, modest, simple and so on. The police should be an insti¬ tution of the same nature as the Roman censorship .—He does not fail to mention Codrus, Lycurgus, Caesar, Cato, Catilina, Brutus, Antonius, and Cassius. Finally, Saint-Just describes the “liberty, justice and virtue” that he demands in a single word when he says:

“Que les hommes revolutionnaires soient des Romains ,”b

Robespierre, Saint-Just and their party fell because they con¬ fused the ancient, realistic-democratic commonweal based on real slavery with the modern spiritualistic-democratic represen¬ tative state, which is based on emancipated slavery, bourgeois so¬ ciety. What a terrible illusion it is to have to recognise and sanction in the rights of man modern bourgeois society, the so¬ ciety of industry, of universal competition, of private interest free¬ ly pursuing its aims, of anarchy, of self-estranged natural and spiritual individuality, and at the same time to want afterwards to annul the manifestations of the life of this society in particular individuals and simultaneously to want to model the political head of that society in the manner of antiquity!

a Free peoples.— Ed.

b “Let revolutionary men be Romans” — Ed.


The illusion appears tragic when Saint-Just, on the day of his execution, pointed to the large table of the Rights of Man hanging in the hall of the Conciergerie and said with proud dignity: “C’est pourtant moi qui ai fait cela .” a It was just this table that proclaimed the right of a man who cannot be the man of the ancient commonweal any more than his economic and industrial conditions are those of ancient times.

This is not the place to vindicate the illusion of the Terrorists historically.

“After the fall of Robespierre the political enlightenment and move¬ ment hastened to the point where they became the prey of Napoleon who, shortly after 18 Brumaire, could say: ‘With my prefects, gendarmes and priests I can do what I like with France.’ ”

Profane history, on the other hand, reports: After the fall of Robespierre, the political enlightenment, which formerly had been overreaching itself and had been extravagant, began for the first time to develop prosaically. Under the government of the Directory bourgeois society, freed by the Revolution itself from the trammels of feudalism and officially recognised in spite of the Terror’s wish to sacrifice it to an ancient form of political life, broke out in powerful streams of life. A storm and stress of commercial enterprise, a passion for enrichment, the exuber¬ ance of the new bourgeois life, whose first self-enjoyment is pert, light-hearted, frivolous and intoxicating; a real enlightenment of the land of France, the feudal structure of which had been smashed by the hammer of the Revolution and which, by the first feverish efforts of the numerous new owners, had become the object of all-round cultivation; the first moves of industry that had now become free—these were some of the signs of life of the newly emerged bourgeois society. Bourgeois society is po¬ sitively represented by the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie, therefore, begins its rule. The rights of man cease to exist merely in theory.

It was not the revolutionary movement as a whole that became the prey of Napoleon on 18 Brumaire, as Criticism in its faith in

  • “Yet it was I who made that.”— Ed.


a Herr von Rotteck or Welcker believes 47 ; it was the liberal bourgeoisie. One only needs to read the speeches of the legislators of the time to be convinced of this. One has the impression of coming from the National Convention into a modern Chamber of Deputies.

Napoleon represented the last battle of revolutionary terror against the bourgeois society which had been proclaimed by this same Revolution, and against its policy. Napoleon, of course, already discerned the essence of the modern state ; he understood that it is based on the unhampered development of bourgeois society, on the free movement of private interest, etc. He decid¬ ed to recognise and protect this basis. He was no terrorist with his head in the clouds. Yet at the same time he still regarded state as an end in itself and civil life only as a treasurer and his subordinate which must have no will of its own. He perfected the Terror by substituting permanent war for permanent revolu¬ tion. He fed the egoism of the French nation to complete satiety but demanded also the sacrifice of bourgeois business, enjoyments, wealth, etc., whenever this was required by the political aim of conquest. If he despotically suppressed the liberalism of bour¬ geois society—the political idealism of its daily practice—he showed no more consideration for its essential material interests, trade and industry, whenever they conflicted with his political inte¬ rests. His scorn of industrial hommes d’affaires was the complement to his scorn of ideologists. In his home policy, too, he combated bourgeois society as the opponent of the state which in his own person he still held to be an absolute aim in itself. Thus he declared in the State Council that he would not suffer the owner of extensive estates to cultivate them or not as he pleased. Thus, too, he conceived the plan of subordinating trade to the state by appropriation of roulage .* French businessmen took steps to anti¬ cipate the event that first shook Napoleon’s power. Paris exchange brokers forced him by means of an artificially created famine to delay the opening of the Russian campaign by nearly two months and thus to launch it too late in the year.

Road haulage.— Ed.


Just as the liberal bourgeoisie was opposed once more by re¬ volutionary terror in the person of Napoleon, so it was opposed once more by counter-revolution in the Restoration in the person of the Bourbons. Finally, in 1830 the bourgeoisie put into effect its wishes of the year 1789, with the only difference that its po¬ litical enlightenment was now completed, that it no longer con¬ sidered the constitutional representative state as a means for achieving the ideal of the state, the welfare of the world and universal human aims but, on the contrary, had acknowledged it as the official expression of its own exclusive power and the political recognition of its own special interests.

The history of the French Revolution, which dates from 1789, did not come to an end in 1830 with the victory of one of its components enriched by the consciousness of its own social im¬ portance.

d) Critical Battle against French Materialism

“Spinozism dominated the eighteenth century both in its later French variety, which made matter into substance, and in deism, which conferred on matter a more spiritual name. . . . Spinoza’s French school and the supporters of deism were but two sects disputing over the true meaning of his system. . . . The simple fate of this Enlightenment was its decline in romanticism after being obliged to surrender to the reaction which began after the French movement.”

That is what Criticism says.

To the Critical history of French materialism we shall oppose a brief outline of its ordinary, mass-type history. We shall acknowl¬ edge with due respect the abyss, between history as it really hap¬ pened and history as it takes place according to the decree of “Absolute Criticism" , the creator equally of the old and of the new. And finally, obeying the prescriptions of Criticism, we shall make the “Why?”, “Whence?” and “Whither?” of Critical histo¬ ry the “object of a persevering study”.

“Speaking exactly and in the prosaic sense ”, the French En¬ lightenment of the eighteenth century, and in particular French materialism, was not only a struggle against the existing political institutions and the existing religion and theology; it was just


as much an open, clearly expressed struggle against the meta¬ physics of the seventeenth century, and against all metaphysics, in particular that of Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza and Leib¬ niz. Philosophy was counterposed to metaphysics, just as Feuer¬ bach, in his first resolute attack on Hegel, counterposed sober philosophy to wild speculation. Seventeenth-century metaphysics, driven from the field by the French Enlightenment, notably, by French materialism of the eighteenth century, experienced a vic¬ torious and substantial restoration in German philosophy, partic¬ ularly in the speculative German philosophy of the nineteenth century. After Hegel linked it in a masterly fashion with all sub¬ sequent metaphysics and with German idealism and founded a metaphysical universal kingdom, the attack on theology again corresponded, as in the eighteenth century, to an attack on spe¬ culative metaphysics and metaphysics in general. It will be de¬ feated for ever by materialism, which has now been perfected by the work of speculation itself and coincides with humanism. But just as Feuerbach is the representative of materialism coin¬ ciding with humanism in the theoretical domain, French and English socialism and communism represent materialism coincid¬ ing with humanism in the practical domain.

“Speaking exactly and in the prosaic sense'’, there are two trends in French materialism; one traces its origin to Descartes, the other to Locke. The latter is mainly a French development and leads directly to socialism. The former, mechanical mate¬ rialism, merges with French natural science proper. The two trends intersect in the course of development. We have no need here to go more deeply into the French materialism that derives directly from Descartes, any more than into the French school of Newton and the development of French natural science in general.

We shall therefore merely say the following:

Descartes in his physics endowed matter with self-creative power and conceived mechanical motion as the manifestation of its life. He completely separated his physics from his metaphysics. Within his physics, matter is the sole substance, the sole basis of being and of knowledge.


Mechanical French materialism adopted Descartes’ physics in opposition to his metaphysics. His followers were by profession anti-metaphysicians, i.e., physicists.

This school begins with the physician Le Roy, reaches its zenith with the physician Cabanis, and the physician La Mettrie is its centre. Descartes was still living when Le Roy, like La Mettrie in the eighteenth century, transposed the Cartesian struc¬ ture of the animal to the human soul and declared that the soul ■ [ is a modus of the body and ideas are mechanical motions. Le Roy even thought Descartes had kept his real opinion secret. Descartes protested. At the end of the eighteenth century Cabanis perfected Cartesian materialism in his treatise: Rapports du phy¬ sique et du moral de l’homme. is

Cartesian materialism still exists today in France. It has j achieved great successes in mechanical natural science which, speaking exactly and in the prosaic sense, will be least of all reproached with romanticism.

The metaphysics of the seventeenth century, represented in France by Descartes, had materialism as its antagonist from its very birth. The latter’s opposition to Descartes was personified by Gassendi, the restorer of Epicurean materialism. French and English materialism was always closely related to Democritus and Epicurus. Cartesian metaphysics had another opponent in the English materialist Hobbes. Gassendi and Hobbes triumphed over their opponent long after their death at the very time when me¬ taphysics was already officially dominant in all French schools,

Voltaire pointed out that the indifference of the French of the eighteenth century to the disputes between the Jesuits and the Jansenists 49 was due less to philosophy than to Law’s finan- ' cial speculations. So the downfall of seventeenth-century meta¬ physics can be explained by the materialistic theory of the eight¬ eenth century only in so far as this theoretical movement itself is explained by the practical nature of French life at that time. This life was turned to the immediate present, to worldly enjoy¬ ment and worldly interests, to the earthly world. Its anti-theolog¬ ical, anti-metaphysical, materialistic practice demanded corresponding anti-theological, anti-metaphysical, materialis*


tic theories. Metaphysics had in practice lost all credit. Here we have only to indicate briefly the theoretical course of events.

In the seventeenth-century metaphysics (cf. Descartes, Leib¬ niz, and others) still contained a positive, secular element. It made discoveries in mathematics, physics and other exact sciences which seemed to come within its scope. This semblance was done away with as early as the beginning of the eighteenth cen¬ tury. The positive sciences broke away from metaphysics and marked out their independent fields. The whole wealth of meta¬ physics now consisted only of beings of thought and heavenly things, at the very time when real beings and earthly things began to be the centre of all interest. Metaphysics had become insipid. In the very year in which Malebranche and Arnauld, the last great French metaphysicians of the seventeenth century, died, Helvetius and Condillac were born.

The man who deprived seventeenth-century metaphysics and metaphysics in general of all credit in the domain of theory was Pierre Bayle. His weapon was scepticism, which he forged out of metaphysics’ own magic formulas. He himself proceeded at first from Cartesian metaphysics. Just as Feuerbach by combat¬ ing speculative theology was driven further to combat speculative philosophy, precisely because he recognised in speculation the last prop of theology, because he had to force theology to retreat from pseudo-science to crude, repulsive faith, so Bayle too was driven by religious doubt to doubt about the metaphysics which was the prop of that faith. He therefore critically investigated metaphysics in its entire historical development. He became its historian in order to write the history of its death. He refuted chiefly Spinoza and Leibniz.

Pierre Bayle not only prepared the reception of material- •sm and of the philosophy of common sense in France by shatter- mg metaphysics with his scepticism. He heralded the atheistic society which was soon to come into existence by proving that a society consisting only of atheists is possible, that an atheist can he a man worthy of respect, and that it is not by atheism but by superstition and idolatry that man debases himself.


To quote a French writer, Pierre Bayle was “the last meta¬ physician in the sense of the seventeenth century and the first philosopher in the sense of the eighteenth century”.

Besides the negative refutation of seventeenth-century theo¬ logy and metaphysics, a positive, anti-metaphysical system was required. A book was needed which would systematise and theo¬ retically substantiate the life practice of that time. Locke’s treatise An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding came from across the Channel as if in answer to a call. It was welcomed enthu¬ siastically like a long-awaited guest.

The question arises: Is Locke perhaps a disciple of Spinoza ? “Profane” history can answer:

Materialism is the natural-born son of Great Britain. 60 Alrea¬ dy the British schoolman. Duns Scotus, asked, “whether it was impossible for matter to think?”

In order to effect this miracle, he took refuge in God’s om¬ nipotence, i.e., he made theology preach materialism. Moreover, he was a nominalist , 51 Nominalism, the first form of materialism, is chiefly found among the English schoolmen.

The real progenitor of English materialism and all modern experimental science is Bacon. To him natural philosophy is the only true philosophy, and physics based upon the experience of the senses is the chiefest part of natural philosophy. Anaxagoras and his homoeomeriae , 62 Democritus and his atoms, he often quotes as his authorities. According to him the senses are infallible and the source of all knowledge. All science is based on expe¬ rience, and consists in subjecting the data furnished by the senses to a rational method of investigation. Induction, analysis, com¬ parison, observation, experiment, are the principal forms of such a rational method. Among the qualities inherent in matter, mo¬ tion is the first and foremost, not only in the form of mechanics and mathematical motion, but chiefly in the form of an impulse, a vital spirit, a tension —or a ‘ Qual ’, 63 to use a term of Jakob c Bohme’s—of matter. The primary forms of matter are the liv¬ ing, individualising forces of being inherent in it and producing the distinctions between the species.

In Bacon, its first creator, materialism still holds back within


itself in a naive way the germs of a many-sided development. On the one hand, matter surrounded by a sensuous, poetic gla¬ mour, seems to attract man’s whole entity by winning smiles. On the other, the aphoristically formulated doctrine pullulates with inconsistencies imported from theology.

In its further evolution, materialism becomes one-sided. Hobbes is the man who systematises Baconian materialism. Knowl¬ edge based upon the senses loses its poetic blossom, it passes into the abstract experience of the geometrician. Physical motion is sacrificed to mechanical or mathematical motion; geometry is proclaimed as the queen of sciences. Materialism takes to mis¬ anthropy. If it is to overcome its opponent, misanthropic, flesh¬ less spiritualism, and that on the latter’s own ground, material¬ ism has to chastise its own flesh and turn ascetic. Thus it passes into an intellectual entity; but thus, too, it evolves all the consistency, regardless of consequences, characteristic of the intellect.

Hobbes, as Bacon’s continuator, argues thus: if all human knowledge is furnished by the senses, then our concepts, notions, and ideas are but the phantoms of the real world, more or less divested of its sensual form. Philosophy can but give names to these phantoms. One name may be applied to more than one of them. There may even be names of names. But it would imply a contradiction if, on the one hand, we maintained that all ideas had their origin in the world of sensation, and, on the other, that a word was more than a word; that besides the beings known to us by our senses, beings which are one and all individ¬ uals, there existed also beings of a general, not individual, na¬ ture. An unbodily substance is the same absurdity as an unbo- dily body. Body, being, substance, are but different terms for the same reality. It is impossible to separate thought from matter that thinks. This matter is the substratum of all changes going on in the world. The word infinite is meaningless, unless it states that our mind is capable of performing an endless process of addition. Only material things being perceptible, knowable to us, Vv e cannot know anything about the existence of God. My own existence alone is certain. Every human passion is a mechanical


movement which has a beginning and an end. The objects of impulse are what we call good. Man is subject to the same laws as nature. Power and freedom are identical.

Hobbes had systematised Bacon without, however, furnish¬ ing a proof for Bacon’s fundamental principle, the origin of all human knowledge and ideas from the world of sen¬ sation.

It was Locke who, in his Essay on the Humane Understand¬ ing, supplied this proof.

Hobbes had shattered the theistic prejudices of Baconian ma¬ terialism; Collins, Dodwell, Coward, Hartley, Priestley, similarly shattered the last theological bars that still hemmed in Locke’s sensationalism. At all events, for materialists, deism is but an easy¬ going way of getting rid of religion.

We have already mentioned how opportune Locke’s work was for the French. Locke founded the philosophy of bon sens, of common sense; i.e., he said indirectly that there cannot be any philosophy at variance with the healthy human senses and reason based on them.

Locke’s immediate pupil, Condillac, who translated him into French, at once applied Locke’s sensualism against seventeenth- century metaphysics. He proved that the French had rightly rejected this metaphysics as a mere botch-work of fancy and theo¬

logical prejudice. He published a refutation of the system of Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz and Malebranche.

In his Essai sur I’origine des connaissances humaines he ex¬ pounded Locke’s ideas and proved that not only the soul, but the senses too, not only the art of creating ideas, but also the art of sensuous perception, are matters of experience and habit. The whole development of man therefore depends on education and external circumstances. It was only by eclectic philosophy that Condillac was ousted from the French schools.

The difference between French and English materialism reflects the difference between the two nations. The French im¬ parted to English materialism wit, flesh and blood, and elo¬ quence. They gave it the temperament and grace that it lacked. They civilised it.


In Helvetius, who also based himself on Locke, materialism assumed a really French character. Helvetius conceived it imme¬ diately in its application to social life. (Helvetius, De I’homme , 54 ) The sensory qualities and self-love, enjoyment and correctly un¬ derstood personal interest are the basis of all morality. The na¬ tural equality of human intelligences, the unity of progress of reason and progress of industry, the natural goodness of man, and the omnipotence of education, are the main features in his system.

In La Mettrie’s works we find a synthesis of Cartesian and English materialism. He makes use of Descartes’ physics in detail. His L’homme machine is a treatise after the model of Descartes’ animal-machine. The physical part of Holbach’s Systeme de la nature is also a result of the combination of French and English materialism, while the moral part is based essentially on the morality of Helvetius. 55 Robinet [De la nature), the French materialist who had the most connection with meta¬ physics and was therefore praised by Hegel, refers explicitly to Leibniz.

We need not dwell on Volney, Dupuis, Diderot and others, any more than on the physiocrats, after we have proved the dual origin of French materialism from Descartes’ physics and English materialism, and the opposition of French materialism to seven¬ teenth-century metaphysics, to the metaphysics of Descartes, Spi¬ noza, Malebranche, and Leibniz. This opposition only became evident to the Germans after they themselves had come into op¬ position to speculative metaphysics.

Just as Cartesian materialism passes into natural science proper, the other trend of French materialism leads directly to socialism and communism.

There is no need for any great penetration to see from the teaching of materialism on the original goodness and equal intellectual endowment of men, the omnipotence of ex¬ perience, habit and education, and the influence of environ¬ ment on man, the great significance of industry, the justifica¬ tion of enjoyment, etc., how necessarily materialism is connected With communism and socialism. If man draws all his knowledge, •1—1552


sensation, etc., from the world of the senses and the experience gained in it, then what has to be done is to arrange the em¬ pirical world in such a way that man experiences and becomes accustomed to what is truly human in it and that he becomes aware of himself as man. If correctly understood interest is the principle of all morality, man’s private interest must be made to coincide with the interest of humanity. If man is unfree in the materialistic sense, i.e., is free not through the negative power to avoid this or that, but through the positive power to assert his true individuality, crime must not be punished in the individual, but the anti-social sources of crime must be destroyed, and each man must be given social scope for the vital manifes¬ tation of his being. If man is shaped by environment, his en¬ vironment must be made human. If man is social by nature, he will develop his true nature only in society, and the power of his nature must be measured not by the power of the separate individual but by the power of society.

These and similar propositions are to be found almost literally even in the oldest French materialists. This is not the place to assess them. The apologia of vices by Mandeville, one of Locke’s early English followers, is typical of the socialist tendencies of materialism. He proves that in modern society vice is indispensable and useful . a This was by no means an apologia for modern society.

Fourier proceeds directly from the teaching of the French materialists. The Babouvists were crude, uncivilised materialists, but developed communism, too, derives directly from French materialism. The latter returned to its mother-country, England, in the form Helvetius gave it. Bentham based his system of cor¬ rectly understood interest on Helvetius’ morality, and Owen pro¬ ceeded from Bentham’s system to found English communism. Exiled to England, the Frenchman Cabet came under the in¬ fluence of communist ideas there and on his return to France became the most popular, if the most superficial, representative

a Bernard de Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees: or. Private Vices, Public Benefits. — Ed.



of communism. Like Owen, the more scientific French Com¬ munists, Dezamy, Gay and others, developed the teaching of materialism as the teaching of real humanism and the logical basis of communism.

Where, then, did Herr Bauer or, Criticism, manage to ac¬ quire the documents for the Critical history of French mate¬ rialism?

1) Hegel’s Geschichte der Philosophie a presents French ma¬ terialism as the realisation of the Substance of Spinoza, which at any rate is far more comprehensible than “the French school of Spinoza”.

2) Herr Bauer read Hegel’s Geschichte der Philosophic as saying that French materialism was the school of Spinoza. Then, as he found in another of Hegel’s works that deism and ma¬ terialism are two parties representing one and the same basic principle, he concluded that Spinoza had two schools which disputed over the meaning of his system. Herr Bauer could have found the supposed explanation in Hegel’s Phanomenologie, where it is said:

“Regarding that Absolute Being, Enlightenment itself falls out with itself . . . and is divided between the views of two parties. . . . The one . . . calls Absolute Being that predicateless Absolute . . . the other calls it matter. . . . Both are entirely the same notion—the distinction lies not in the objective fact, but purely in the diversity of starting-point adopted by the two developments” (Hegel, Phanomenologie, pp. 420, 421, 422).>>

3) Finally Herr Bauer could find, again in Hegel, that when Substance does not develop into a concept and self-conscious¬ ness, it degenerates into “romanticism”. The journal Hallische Jahrbiicher at one time developed a similar theory.

But at all costs the “Spirit ” had to decree a '‘foolish destiny” for its “adversary”, materialism.

a G. W. F. Hegel, Vorlesungen liber die Geschichte der Philosophie .—


b English text taken from the translation by J. B. Bailie, published by Allen & Unwin, 1931, pp. 591, 592, 593.— Ed.



Note. French materialism’s connection with Descartes and Locke and the opposition of eighteenth-century philosophy to seventeenth-century metaphysics are presented in detail in most recent French histories of philosophy. In this respect, we had only to repeat against Critical Criticism what was already known, j But the connection of eighteenth-century materialism with English * and French communism of the nineteenth century still needs to 1 be presented in detail. We confine ourselves here to quoting a few typical passages from Helvetius, Holbach and Bentham.

1) Helvetius. “Man is not wicked, but he is subordinate to his interests. One must not therefore complain of the wickedness of man but of the ignorance of the legislators, who have always placed the particular interest in opposition to the general interest.”—“The moral¬ ists have so far had no success because we have to dig into legislation to pull out the roots which create vice. In New Orleans women have the right to repudiate their husbands as soon as they are tired of them, j In countries like that women are not faithless, because they have no interest in being so.”—"Morality is but a frivolous science when not combined with politics and legislation.”—“The hypocritical moralists can be recognised on the one hand by the equanimity with which they consider vices which undermine the state, and on the other by the fury with which they condemn private vice.”—“Human beings are bom neither good nor bad but ready to become one or the other according as a common interest unites or divides them.”—“If citizens could not achieve their own particular good without achieving the general good, I there would be no vicious people except fools” (De I’esprit, t. I, Paris, 1822“ pp. 117, 240, 241, 249. 251, 369 and 339).

As, according to Helvetius, it is education, by which he means (cf. loc. cit., p. 390) not only education in the ordinary sense but the totality of the individual’s conditions of life, which forms man, if a reform is necessary to abolish the con* tradiction between particular interests and those of society, so, on the other hand, a transformation of consciousness is neces¬ sary to carry out such a reform:

“Great reforms can be implemented only by weakening the stupid respect of the peoples for old laws and customs” (loc. cit., p. 260) ,

or, as he says elsewhere, by abolishing ignorance.


2) Holbach. “Ce n’est que lui-meme que Phomme peut aimer dans les objets qu’il aime: ce n’est que lui-meme qu’il peut affectionner dans les etres de son espece.” “L’homme ne peut jamais se separer de lui-meme dans aucun instant de sa vie; il ne peut se perdre de vue.” “C’est toujours notre utilite, notre interet . . . qui nous fait hair ou aimer les objets”.* ( Systdme social, t. I, Paris, 1822,” pp. 80, 112), but “L’homme pour son propre interet doit aimer les autres hommes puisqu’ils sont necessaires a son bien-etre. ... La morale lui prouve, que de tous les etres le plus necessaire a I’homme c’est l’homme”b (p. 76). “La vraie morale, ainsi que la vraie politique, est celle qui cherche a approcher les hommes, afin de les faire travailler par des efforts reunis a leur bonheur mutuel. Toute morale qui separe nos interets de ceux de nos associes est fausse, insensee, contraire a la nature” 0 (p. 116). “Aimer les autres . . . c’est confondre nos interets avec ceux de nos as¬ socies, afin de travailler a I’utilite commune. ... La vertu n’est que I’utilite des hommes reunis en societe ”d (p. 77). “Un homme sans pas¬ sions ou sans desirs cesserait d’etre un homme. . . . Parfaitement detache de lui-meme, comment pourrait-on le determiner a s’attacher a d’autres? Un homme, indifferent pour tout, prive de passions, qui se suffirait a lui-meme, ne serait plus un etre sociable. ... La vertu n’est que la com¬ munication du bien"s (loc. cit., p. 118). “La morale religieuse ne servit jamais a rendre les mortels plus sociables”f (loc. cit., p. 36).

a “Man can only love himself in the objects he loves: he can have affection only for himself in the other beings of his kind.” “Man can never separate himself from himself for a single instant in his life; he cannot lose sight of himself.” “It is always our convenience, our in¬ terest . . . that makes us hate or love things.”— Ed.

b “In his own interest man must love other men, because they are necessary to his welfare. . . . Morality proves to him that of all beings the most necessary to man is man.” — Ed.

c “True morality, and true politics as well, is that which seeks to bring men nearer to one another to make them work by united efforts for their common happiness. Any morality which separates our interests from those of our associates, is false, senseless, unnatural.”— Ed.

d “To love others ... is to merge our interests with those of our associates, to work for the common benefit. . . . Virtue is but the usefulness of men united in society.” — Ed.

e “A man without desires or passions would cease to be a man. . . . Perfectly detached from himself, how could one make him decide to attach himself to others? A man indifferent to everything and having no passions, sufficient to himself, would cease to be a social being. . . . V irtue is but the communication of good.” — Ed.

f “Religious morality never served to make mortals more socia¬ ble.”— Ed.


3) Bentham. We only quote one passage from Bentham in which he opposes “ interet general in the political sense”. “L’interet des in- dividus . . . doit ceder a l’interet public. Mais . . . qu’est-ce que cela signifie? Chaque individu n’est-il pas partie du public autant que chaque autre? Cet interet public, que vous personnifiez, n’est qu’un terme ab- strait: il ne represente que la masse des interets individuels. . . . S’il etait bon de sacrifier la fortune d’un individu pour augmenter cclle des autres, il serait encore mieux d’en sacrifier un second, un troisiemc, sans qu’on puisse assigner aucune limite. . . . Les interets individuels sont les seuls interets reels” 3 (Bentham, Theorie des peines et des recompenses, Paris, 1826, 3™* £d., H, p . [229], 230).

e) Final Defeat of Socialism

“The French set up a series of systems of how the mass should be organised, but they had to resort to fantasy because they considered the mass, as it is, to be usable material.”

Actually, the French and the English have proved, and proved in great detail, that the present social system organises the “mass as it is” and is therefore its organisation. Criticism, following the example of the Allgemeine Zeitung, disposes of all socialist and communist systems by means of the fundamental word “ fantasy ”. 08

Having thus shattered foreign socialism and communism. Criticism transfers its war-like operations to Germany.

“When the German Enlighteners suddenly found themselves disap¬ pointed in their hopes of 1842 and, in their embarrassment, did not know what to do, news of the recent French systems came in the nick of time. They were henceforth able to speak of raising the lower classes of the people and at that price they were able to dispense with the

3 “The interest of individuals . . . must give way to the public in¬ terest. But . . . what does that mean? Is not each individual part of the public as much as any other? This public interest that you per¬ sonify is but an abstract term: it represents but the mass of individual interests. ... If it were good to sacrifice the fortune of one individual to increase that of others, it would be better to sacrifice that of a second, a third, and so on ad infinitum.... Individual interests are the only real interests.”— Ed.


question whether they did not themselves belong to the mass, which is to be found not only in the lowest strata.”

Criticism has obviously so exhausted its entire provision of well-meaning motives in the apologia for Bauer’s literary past that it can find no other explanation for the German socialist movement than the “embarrassment” of the Enlighteners in 1842. “Fortunately they received news of the recent French systems.” Why not of the English ? For the decisive Critical reason that Herr Bauer received no news of the recent English systems through Stein’ s book: Der Communismus und Socialismus des heutigen Frankreichs. This is also the decisive reason why only French systems ever exist for Criticism in all its talk about social¬ ist systems.

The German Enlighteners, Criticism goes on to explain, committed a sin against the Holy Ghost. They busied them¬ selves with the “lower classes of the people”, already in existence in 1842, in order to get rid of the question, which did not yet exist then, as to what rank they were destined to occupy in the Critical world system that was to be instituted in anno 1843: sheep or goat, Critical Critic or impure Mass, Spirit or Matter. But above all they should have thought seriously of the Critical salvation of their own souls, for of what profit is it to me if I gain the whole world, including the lower classes of the people, and suffer the loss of my own soul ?

“But a spiritual being cannot be raised to a higher level unless it is altered, and it cannot be altered before it has experienced extreme re¬ sistance.”

Were Criticism better acquainted with the movement of the lower classes of the people it would know that the extreme resis¬ tance that they have experienced from practical life is changing them every day. Modern prose and poetry emanating in England and France from the lower classes of the people would show it that the lower classes of the people know how to raise them¬ selves spiritually even without being directly overshadowed by the Holy Ghost of Critical Criticism,


“They,” Absolute Criticism continues to indulge in fancy, “whose whole wealth is the word ‘organisation of the mass’ ”, etc.

A lot has been said about “organisation of labour”, although even this “catchword” came not from the Socialists themselves but from the politically radical party in France, which tried to be an intermediary between politics and socialism. 69 But nobody before Critical Criticism spoke of “organisation of the mass” as of a question yet to be solved. It was proved, on the contrary, that bourgeois society, the dissolution of the old feudal society, is this organisation of the mass.

Criticism puts its discovery in quotation marks [Gansefiisse 3 ]. The goose that cackled to Herr Bauer the watchword for sav¬ ing the Capitol 60 is none but his own goose, Critical Criticism. It organised the mass anew by speculatively constructing it as the Absolute Opponent of the Spirit. The antithesis between spirit and mass is the Critical “organisation of society”, in which the Spirit, or Criticism, represents the organising work, the mass —the raw material, and history—the product.

After Absolute Criticism’s great victories over revolution, materialism and socialism in its third campaign, we may ask: What is the final result of these Herculean feats? Only that these movements perished without any result because they were still criticism adulterated by mass or spirit adulterated by matter. Even in Herr Bauer’s own literary past Criticism discovered ma¬ nifold adulterations of criticism by the mass. But here it writes an apologia instead of a criticism, “ places in safety ” instead of surrendering; instead of seeing in the adulteration of the spirit by the flesh the death of the spirit too, it reverses the case and finds in the adulteration of the flesh by the spirit the life even of Bauer's flesh. On the other hand, it is all the more ruthless and decisively terroristic as soon as imperfect criticism still adulterated by mass is no longer the work of Herr Bauer but of whole peoples and of a number of ordinary Frenchmen

a Gansefiisse (=goose-feet) is a German word for quotation marks.

— Ed.


and Englishmen; as soon as imperfect criticism is no longer en¬ titled Die Judenfrage, or Die gute Sache der Freiheit, or Staat, Religion und Parthei, but revolution, materialism, socialism or communism. Thus Criticism did away with the adulteration of spirit by matter and of criticism by mass by sparing its own flesh and crucifying the flesh of others.

One way or the other, the “spirit adulterated by flesh” or “Criticism adulterated by mass” has been cleared out of the way. Instead of this un-Critical adulteration, there appears ab¬ solutely Critical disintegration of spirit and flesh, criticism and mass, their pure opposition. This opposition in its world-historic form in which it constitutes the true historical interest of the present time, is the opposition of Herr Bauer and Co., or the Spirit, to the rest of the human race as Matter.

Revolution, materialism and communism therefore have ful¬ filled their historic, mission. By their downfall they have pre¬ pared the way for the Critical Lord. Hosanna!

f) The Speculative Cycle of Absolute Criticism and the Philosophy of Self-Consciousness

Criticism, having supposedly attained perfection and purity in one domain, therefore committed only one oversight, “only” one “inconsistency”, that of not being “pure” and “perfect” in all domains. The “one” Critical domain is none other than that of theology. The pure area of this domain extends from the Kritik der Synoptiker by Bruno Bauer to Das entdeckte Christenthum by Bruno Bauer, as the farthest frontier post.

“Modern Criticism”, we are told, “had finally dealt with Spinozism; it was therefore inconsistent of it naively to presuppose Substance in one domain, even if only in individual, falsely expounded points.”

Criticism’s earlier admission that it had been involved in political prejudice was immediately followed by the extenuat¬ ing circumstance that this involvement had been “ basically to slight!” Now the admission of inconsistency is tempered by


the parenthesis that it was committed only in individual, falsely expounded points. It was not Herr Bauer who was to blame, but the false points which ran away with Criticism like recal¬ citrant mounts.

A few quotations will show that by overcoming Spinozism Criticism ended up in Hegelian idealism, that from “ Substance ” it arrived at another metaphysical monster, the “ Subject ”, “ Sub¬ stance as a process”, “infinite self-consciousness”, and that the final result of “perfect” and “pure” Criticism is the restoration of the Christian theory of creation in a speculative, Hegelian form.

Let us first open the Kritik der Synoptiker.

“Strauss remains true to the view that Substance is the Absolute. Tradition in this form of universality, which has not yet attained the real and rational certitude of universality, that certitude which can be at¬ tained only in self-consciousness, in the oneness and infinity of self-con¬ sciousness, is nothing but Substance which has emerged from its logical simplicity and has assumed a definite form of existence as the power of the community ” I Kritik der Synoptiker, Vol. I, Preface, pp. vi [-vii]).

Let us leave to their fate “the universality which attains cer¬ titude”, the “oneness and infinity” (the Hegelian Notion ).— Instead of saying that the view put forward in Strauss’ theory on the “power of the community” and “tradition” has its ab¬ stract expression, its logical and metaphysical hieroglyphic, in the Spinozist conception of Substance, Herr Bauer makes “ Substance emerge from its logical simplicity and assume a definite form of existence in the power of the community”. He applies the Hegelian miracle apparatus by which the “ metaphysical cate¬ gories” —abstractions extracted out of reality —emerge from logic, where they are dissolved in the “ simplicity ” of thought, and assume “a definite form” of physical or human existence; he makes them become incarnate. Help, Hinrichsl

“Mysterious,” Criticism continues its argument against Strauss, “mys¬ terious is this view because whenever it wishes to explain and make visible the process to which the gospel history owes its origin, it can only bring out the semblance of a process [. ..] The sentence: ‘The gospel history has its source and origin in tradition,’ posits the same


thing twice —‘tradition’ and the ‘gospel history’; admittedly it does posit a relation between them, but it does not tell us to what internal process of Substance the development and exposition owe their origin.” 3

According to Hegel, Substance must be conceived as an in¬ ternal process. He characterises development from the viewpoint of Substance as follows:

‘‘But if we look more closely at this expansion, we find that it has not come about by one and the same principle taking shape in diverse ways; it is only the shapeless repetition of one and the same thing: . . . keeping up a tedious semblance of diversity” ( Phanomenologie , Preface,

p. 12).

Help, Hinrichs!

“Criticism,” Herr Bauer continues, “according to this, must turn against itself and look for the solution of the mysterious substantiality ... in what the development of Substance itself leads to, in the uni¬ versality and certitude of the idea and its real existence, in infinite self- consciousness.”

Hegel’s criticism of the substantiality view continues:

“The compact solidity of Substance is to be opened up and Sub¬ stance raised to self-consciousness” (loc. cit., p. 7).

Bauer’s self-consciousness, too, is Substance raised to self- consciousness or self-consciousness as Substance; self-conscious¬ ness is transformed from an attribute of man into a self-existing subject. This is the metaphysical-theological caricature of man in his severance from nature. The being of this self-consciousness is therefore not man, but the idea of which self-consciousness is the real existence. It is the idea become man, and therefore it is infinite. All human qualities are thus transformed in a mysterious way into qualities of imaginary “infinite self-consciousness”. Hence, Herr Bauer says expressly that everything has its origin

3 This is also a quotation from B. Bauer’s book Kritik der cvange- Uschen Geschichte der Synoptiker. — Ed.


and its explanation in this “infinite self-consciousness”, i.e., finds in it the basis of its existence. Help, Hinrichsl

Herr Bauer continues:

“The power of the substantiality relation lies in its impulse, which leads us to the concept, the idea and self-consciousness.”

Hegel says:

“Thus the concept is the truth of the substance.” “The transition of the substantiality relation takes place through its own immanent neces¬ sity and consists in this only, that the concept is the truth of the sub¬ stance.” “The idea is the adequate concept.” “The concept . . . having achieved free existence ... is nothing but the ego or pure self-conscious¬ ness” (Logik , Hegel’s Werke, 2nd ed., Vol. 5, pp. 6, 9, 229, 13).

Help, Hinrichsl

It seems comic in the extreme when Herr Bauer says in his Liter atur-Zeitung:

“Strauss came to grief because he was unable to complete the cri¬ ticism of Hegel’s system, although he proved by his half-way criticism the necessity for its completion”, etc. 61

It was not a complete criticism of Hegel’s system that Herr Bauer himself thought he was giving in his Kritik der Synop- tiker but at the most the completion of Hegel’s system, at least in its application to theology.

He describes his criticism (Kritik der Synoptiker, Preface, p. xxi) as “the last act of a definite system”, which is no other than Hegel’s system.

The dispute between Strauss and Bauer over Substance and Self-Consciousness is a dispute within Hegelian speculation. In Hegel there are three elements, Spinoza’s Substance, Fichte’s Self-Consciousness and Hegel’s necessarily antagonistic unity of the two, the Absolute Spirit. The first element is metaphysically disguised nature separated from man; the second is metaphysi¬ cally disguised spirit separated from nature; the third is the metaphysically disguised unity of both, real man and the real human species.


Within the domain of theology, Strauss expounds Hegel from Spinoza’s point of view, and Bauer does so from Fichte’s point of view, both quite consistently. They both criticised Hegel in¬ sofar as with him each of the two elements was falsified by the other, whereas they carried each of these elements to its one¬ sided and hence consistent development.—Both of them there¬ fore go beyond Hegel in their criticism, but both also remain within his speculation and each represents only one side of his system. Feuerbach, who completed and criticised Hegel from Hegel’s point of view by resolving the metaphysical Absolute Spirit into “ real man on the basis of nature ”, was the first to complete the criticism of religion by sketching in a grand and masterly manner the basic features of the criticism of Hegel’s spe¬ culation and hence of all metaphysics.

With Herr Bauer it is, admittedly, no longer the Holy Ghost, but nevertheless infinite self-consciousness that dictates the writ¬ ings of the evangelist.

“We ought not any longer to conceal the fact that the correct con¬ ception of the gospel history also has its philosophical basis, namely, the philosophy of self-consciousness” (Bruno Bauer, Kritik der Synoptiker, Preface, p. xv).

This philosophy of Herr Bauer, the philosophy of self-con¬ sciousness, like the results he achieved by his criticism of the¬ ology, must be characterised by a few extracts from Das entdeckte Christenthum, his last work on the philosophy of religion.

Speaking of the French materialists, he says:

“When the truth of materialism, the philosophy of self-conscious¬ ness, is revealed and self-consciousness is recognised as the Universe, as the solution of the riddle of Spinoza’s Substance and as the true causa sui* . . ., what is the purpose of the Spirit ? What is the purpose of self- consciousness? As if self-consciousness, by positing the world, did not posit distinction, and did not produce itself in all it produces, since it does away again with the distinction of what it produced from itself, and since, consequently it is itself only in production and in movement—

a Cause of itself.— Ed.


as if self-consciousness in this movement, which is itself, had not its purpose and did not possess itself!” (Das entdeckte Christenthum, p. 113.)

“The French materialists did, indeed, conceive the movement of self-consciousness as the movement of the universal being, matter, but they could not yet see that the movement of the universe became real for itself and achieved unity with itself only as the movement of self-consciousness” (1. c., pp. [114-] 115).

Help, Hinrichsl

In plain language the first extract means: the truth of ma¬ terialism is the opposite of materialism, absolute, i.e., exclusive, unmitigated idealism. Self-consciousness, the Spirit, is the Uni¬ verse. Outside of it there is nothing. “Self-consciousness”, “the Spirit ”, is the almighty creator of the world, of heaven and earth. The world is a manifestation of the life of self-conscious¬ ness which has to alienate itself and take on the form of a slave, but the difference between the world and self-consciousness is only an apparent difference. Self-consciousness distinguishes nothing real from itself. The world is, rather, only a metaphysical distinction, a phantom of its ethereal brain and an imaginary product of the latter. Hence self-consciousness does away again with the appearance, which it conceded for a moment, that something exists outside of it, and it recognises in what it has “produced” no real object, i.e., no object which in reality is distinct from it. By this movement, however, self-consciousness first produces itself as absolute, for the absolute idealist, in order to be an absolute idealist, must necessarily constantly go through the sophistical process of first transforming the world outside himself into an appearance, a mere fancy of his brain, and after¬ wards declaring this fantasy to be what it really is, i.e., a mere fantasy, so as finally to be able to proclaim his sole, exclusive existence, which is no longer disturbed even by the semblance of an external world.

In plain language the second extract means: The French materialists did, of course, conceive the movements of matter as movements involving spirit, but they were not yet able to see that they are not material, but ideal movements, movements of self-consciousness, consequently pure movements of thought.


They were not yet able to see that the real movement of the universe became true and real only as the ideal movement of self-consciousness free and freed from matter, that is, from reality; in other words, that a material movement distinct from ideal brain movement exists only in appearance. Help, Hinrichs] This speculative theory of creation is almost word for word in Hegel; it can be found in his first work, his Phanomenologie.

“The alienation of self-consciousness itself establishes thinghood. . . . In this alienation self-consciousness establishes itself as object, or sets up the object as itself. On the other hand, there is also this other mo¬ ment in the process that it has just as much abolished this alienation and objectification and resumed them into itself. . . . This is the movement of consciousness ” (Hegel, Phanomenologie, pp. 574-75).

“Self-consciousness has a content, which it distinguishes from it¬ self. . . . This content in its distinction is itself the ego, for it is the movement of superseding itself. . . . More precisely stated, this content is nothing but the very movement just spoken of; for the content is the Spirit which traverses the whole range of its own being, and does this for itself as Spirit” (loc. cit., pp. [582-] 03.)a

Referring to this theory of creation of Hegel’s, Feuerbach observes:

“Matter is the self-alienation of the spirit. Thereby matter itself acquires spirit and reason—but at the same time it is assumed as a nothingness, an unreal being, inasmuch as being producing itself from this alienation, i.e., being divesting itself of matter, of sensuousness, is pronounced to be being in its perfection, in its true shape and form. Therefore the natural, the material, the sensuous, is what is to be negated here too, as nature poisoned by original sin is in theology” (Philosophic der Zukunft, p. 35).*>

Herr Bauer therefore defends materialism against un-Critical theology , at the same time as he reproaches it with “not yet” being Critical theology, theology of reason, Hegelian speculation. Hinrichs! Hinrichs!

a See the English edition of Hegel’s Works, pp. 789, 790.— Ed. •> L. Feuerbach, Grundsatze der Philosophic der Zukunft. — Ed.



Herr Bauer, who in all domains carries through his opposi¬ tion to Substance, his philosophy of self-consciousness or of the Spirit, must therefore in all domains have only the figments of his own brain to deal with. In his hands, Criticism is the instrument to sublimate into mere appearance and pure thought all that affirms a finite material existence outside infinite self- consciousness. What he combats in Substance is not the meta¬ physical illusion but its mundane kernel— nature ; nature both as it exists outside man and as man’s nature. Not to presume Substance in any domain—he still uses this language—means therefore for him not to recognise any being distinct from thought, any natural energy distinct from the spontaneity of the spirit, any power of human nature distinct from reason, any passivity distinct from activity, any influence of others distinct from one’s own action, any feeling or willing distinct from knowing, any heart distinct from the head, any object distinct from the subject, any practice distinct from theory, any man distinct from the Critic, any real community distinct from abstract generality, any Thou distinct from I. Herr Bauer is therefore consistent when he goes on to identify himself with infinite self-consciousness, with the Spirit, i.e., to replace these creations of his by their creator. He is just as consistent in re¬ jecting as stubborn mass and matter the rest of the world which obstinately insists on being something distinct from what he, Herr Bauer, has produced. And so he hopes:

It will not be long,

Before all bodies perish. 3

His own ill-humour at so far being unable to master “the something of this clumsy world” he interprets equally consistently as the self-discontent of this world, and the indignation of his Criticism at the development of mankind as the mass-type in¬ dignation of mankind against his Criticism, against the Spirit, against Herr Bruno Bauer and Co.

J. W. Goethe, Faust, Part I, Scene 3 (“Faust’s Study”).— Ed.


Herr Bauer was a theologian from the very beginning, but no ordinary one; he was a Critical theologian or a theological Critic. While still the extreme representative of old Hegelian orthodoxy who put in a speculative form all religious and theo¬ logical nonsense, he constantly proclaimed Criticism his private domain. At that time he called Strauss’ criticism human criticism and expressly asserted the right of divine criticism in opposition to it. He later stripped the great self-reliance or self-conscious¬ ness, which was the hidden kernel of this divinity, of its religious shell, made it self-existing as an independent being, and raised it, under the trade-mark “ Infinite Self-Consciousness”, to the rank of the principle of Criticism. Then he accomplished in his own movement the movement that the “philosophy of self- consciousness” describes as the absolute act of life. He abolished anew the “distinction” between “the product”, infinite self-con¬ sciousness, and the producer, himself, and acknowledged that infinite self-consciousness in its movement “was only he himself”, and that therefore the movement of the universe only becomes true and real in his ideal self-movement.

Divine criticism in its return into itself is restored in a ra¬ tional, conscious, Critical way; being in-itself is transformed into being in-and-for-itself and only at the end does the fulfilled, realised, revealed beginning take place. Divine criticism, as dis¬ tinct from human criticism, reveals itself as Criticism, pure Crit¬ icism, Critical Criticism. The apologia for the Old and the New Testament is replaced by the apologia for the old and new works of Herr Bauer. The theological antithesis of God and man, spirit and flesh, infinity and finiteness is transformed into the Critical- theological antithesis of the Spirit, Criticism, or Herr Bauer, and the matter of the mass, or the secular world. The theological antithesis of faith and reason has been resolved into the Critical- theological antithesis of common sense and pure Critical thought. The Zeitschrift fur spekulative Theologie has been transformed into the Critical Literatur-Zeitung. The religious redeemer of the world has finally become a reality in the Critical redeemer of the world, Herr Bauer.

Herr Bauer’s last stage is not an anomaly in his develop-



ment; it is the return of his development into itself from its alienation. Naturally, the point at which divine Criticism alienat¬ ed itself and came out of itself coincided with the point at which it became partly untrue to itself and created something human.

Returning to its starting-point, Absolute Criticism has ended the speculative cycle and thereby its own life’s career. Its further movement is pure, lofty circling within itself , above all interest of a mass nature and therefore devoid of any further interest for the Mass.



1. The Critical Mass

Oil peut-on etre mieux Qu’au sein de sa famille? 3

In its Absolute existence as Herr Bruno, Critical Criticism has declared the mass of mankind, the whole of mankind that is not Critical Criticism, to be its opposite, its essential object ; essential, because the Mass exists ad majorem gloriam dei, b the glory of Criticism, of the Spirit; its object, because it is only the matter on which Critical Criticism operates. Critical Criticism has proclaimed its relationship to the Mass as the world-historic relationship of the present time.

No world-historic opposition is formed, however, by the statement that one is in opposition to the whole world. One can imagine that one is a stumbling-block for the world be¬ cause one is clumsy enough to stumble everywhere. But for a world-historic opposition it is not enough for me to declare the world my opposite; the world for its part must declare me to be its essential opposite, and must treat and recognise me as such. Critical Criticism ensures itself this recognition by its cor¬ respondence, which is called upon to bear witness before the world to Criticism’s function of redeemer and equally to the general irritation of the world at the Critical gospel. Critical Criticism is its own object as the object of the world. The cor¬ respondence is intended to show it as such, as the world interest of the present time.

Critical Criticism is in its own eyes the Absolute Subject.

a Where can one feel better than in the bosom of one’s family? (From J. F. Marmontel’s one-act comedy Lucile, Scene 4.)— Ed. b For the greater glory of God.— Ed.



The Absolute Subject requires a cult. A real cult requires other believing individuals. The Holy Family of Charlottenburg there¬ fore receives from its correspondents the cult due to it. The correspondents tell it what it is and what its adversary, the Mass, is not.

However, Criticism falls into an inconsistency by thus hav¬ ing its opinion of itself represented as the opinion of the world and by its concept being converted into reality. Within Criticism itself a sort of Mass is forming, a Critical Mass whose simple function is untiringly to echo the stock phrases of Criticism. For consistency’s sake this inconsistency may be forgiven. Not feeling at home in the sinful world, Critical Criticism must set up a sinful world in its own home.

The path of Critical Criticism’s correspondent, a member of the Critical Mass, is not a rosy one. It is a difficult, thorny path, a Critical path. Critical Criticism is a spiritualistic lord, pure spontaneity, actus purus, intolerant of any influence from without. The correspondent can therefore be a subject only in appearance, can only seem to behave independently towards Critical Criticism, can only seemingly want to communicate something new and of his own to it. In reality he is Critical Criticism’s own product, its perception of its own voice made for an instant objective and self-existing.

That is why the correspondents do not fail to assert inces¬ santly that Critical Criticism itself knows, realises, understands, grasps; and experiences what at the same moment is being com¬ municated to it for appearance’s sake . 62 Thus Zerrleder, for in¬ stance, uses the expressions: “Do you grasp it? You know. You know for the second and third time. You have probably heard enough to be able to see for yourself.”

So too the Breslau correspondent Fleischhammer says: “But the fact,” etc., “will be as little of a puzzle to you as to me.” Or the Zurich correspondent Hirzel: “You will probably find out for yourself.” The Critical correspondent has such anxious respect for the absolute understanding of Critical Criticism that he attributes understanding to it even where there is absolutely nothing to understand. For example, Fleischhammer says:


“You will perfectly [!] understand [!] me when I tell you that one can hardly go out without meeting young Catholic priests in their long black cowls and cloaks.”

Indeed, in their fear the correspondents hear Critical Crit¬ icism saying, answering, exclaiming, deriding !

Zerrleder, for example, says: “But—you say. Well, then, listen.” And Fleischhammer: “Yes, I hear what you say —I only mean that... .” And Hirzel : “Good for you, you will exclaimV' And a Tubingen correspondent: “Do not laugh at me!”

The correspondents, therefore, also express themselves as though they were communicating facts to Critical Criticism and expect from it the spiritual interpretation-, they provide it with premises and leave the conclusion to it, or they even apologise for repeating things Criticism has known for a long time.

Zerrleder, for example, says:

“Your correspondent can only give a picture, a description of the facts. The Spirit which animates these things is certainly not unknown to you.” Or again: “Now you will surely draw the conclusion for your¬ self.”

And Hirzel says:

“7 shall not presume to entertain you with the speculative prop¬ osition that every creation arises out of its extreme opposite.”

Sometimes, too, the experiences of the correspondents are merely the fulfilment and confirmation of Criticism’s prophecies.

Fleischhammer, for example, says:

“Your prediction has come true.”

And Zerrleder:

“Far from being disastrous, the tendencies that I have described to you as gaining ever greater scope in Switzerland, are very fortunate; they only confirm the thought you have already often expressed,” etc.

Critical Criticism sometimes feels urged to express the con¬ descension involved by its participation in the correspondence and motivates, this condescension by the fact that the corres-


pondent has successfully carried out some task. Thus Herr Bruno writes to the Tubingen correspondent:

“It is really inconsistent on my part to answer your letter.—On the other hand, you have again . . . made such an apt remark that I . . . cannot refuse the explanation you request.”™

Critical Criticism has letters written to it from the provinces’, not the provinces in the political sense, which, as we know, do not exist anywhere in Germany, but from the Critical provinces of which Berlin is the capital, Berlin, the seat of the Critical patriarchs and of the Holy Critical Family, whereas the pro¬ vinces are where the Critical Mass resides. The Critical pro¬ vincials dare not engage the attention of the supreme Critical authority without bows and apologies.

Thus, someone writes anonymously to Herr Edgar, who, being a member of the Holy Family, is also an eminent personage:

“Honourable Sir, I hope you will excuse these lines on the grounds that young people like to unite in common strivings (there is not more than two years’ difference in our ages).”

The coeval of Herr Edgar describes himself incidentally as the essence of modern philosophy. Is it not in the nature of things that Criticism should correspond with the essence of philosophy?

If Herr Edgar’s coeval affirms that he has already lost his teeth, that is only an allusion to his allegorical essence. This “essence of modern philosophy” has “learned from Feuerbach to set the factor of education in objective view”. It at once gives a sample of its education and views by assuring Herr Edgar that it has acquired a “complete view of his short story”, “Es leben feste Grundsatze !” 3 At the same time it openly admits that Herr , Edgar’s point of view is by no means quite clear to it, and finally I invalidates the assurance concerning the complete view by the question: “Or have I completely misunderstood you?” After this sample it will be found quite normal that the essence of modern philosophy, referring to the Mass, should say:

a “Long live firm principles!” A. Weill und E. Bauer, Berliner 1 Novellen. — Ed.


"We must at least once condescend to examine and untie the magic knot which bars common human reason from access to the unrestricted flood of thought .”

In order to get a complete view of the Critical Mass one should read the correspondence of Herr Hirzel from Zurich (Heft V). This unfortunate man memorises the stock phrases of Criticism with really touching docility and praiseworthy pow¬ er of recall, not omitting Herr Bruno’s favourite phrases about the battles he has waged and the campaigns he has planned and led. But Herr Hirzel exercises his profession as a member of the Critical Mass especially by raging against the profane Mass and its attitude to Critical Criticism.

He speaks of the Mass claiming a part in history, “of the pure Mass”, of “pure Criticism”, of the “purity of this contra¬ diction”—“a contradiction purer than any that history has pro¬ vided”—of the “discontented being”, of the “perfect emptiness, ill humour, dejection, heartlessness, timidity, fury and bitterness of the Mass towards Criticism”; of “the Mass which only exists in order by its resistance to make Criticism sharper and more vigilant”. He speaks of “creation from the extreme opposite”, of how Criticism is above hate and similar profane sentiments. The whole of Herr Hirzel’s contribution to the Literatur-Zeitung is confined to this profusion of Critical stock phrases. While re¬ proaching the Mass for being satisfied with mere “disposition”, “good will”, “the phrase”, “faith”, etc., he himself, as a member of the Critical Mass, is content with phrases, expressions of his “Critical disposition”, his “Critical faith”, his “Critical good will” and leaves “action, work, struggle” and “works” to Herr Bruno and Co.

Despite the terrible picture of the world-historic tension be¬ tween the profane world and “Critical Criticism” which the members of the “Critical Mass” outline, for the non-believer at least not even the fact of the matter is stated, the factual exis¬ tence of this world-historic tension. The obliging and un-Critical repetition of Criticism’s “imaginations” and “pretensions” by the correspondents only proves that the fixed ideas of the master are the fixed ideas of the servant as well. It is true that one of


the Critical correspondents 1 makes an attempt at a proof based on fact.

“You see,” he writes to the Holy Family, “that the Literatur- Zeitung is fulfilling its purpose, i.e., that it meets with no approval. It could meet with approval only if it sounded in unison with the general thoughtlessness, if you strode proudly before it with the jingling of hack¬ neyed phrases of a whole janissary band of current categories.”

The jingling of hackneyed phrases of a whole janissary band of current categories! It is evident that the Critical correspondent does his best to keep pace with non-“current” hackneyed phrases. But his explanation of the fact that the Literatur-Zeitung meets with no approval must be rejected as purely apologetic. This fact could be better explained in just the opposite way by saying that Critical Criticism is in unison with the great mass, to be precise, the great mass of scribblers who meet with no approval.

It is therefore not enough for the Critical correspondent to address Critical hackneyed phrases to the Holy Family as “play¬ ers” and at the same time to the Mass as “anathemas”. Un¬ critical, mass-type correspondents, real delegates of the Mass to Critical Criticism, are needed to show the real tension between the Mass and Criticism.

That is why Critical Criticism also assigns a place to the un-Critical Mass. It makes unbiased representatives of the latter correspond with it, acknowledge the opposition to itself, Criticism, as important and absolute, and utter a fearful cry for redemp¬ tion from this opposition.

2. The “Un-Critical Mass” and “Critical Criticism”

a) The “Obdurate Mass” and the “Unsatisfied Mass”

The hardness of heart, the obduracy and blind unbelief of “the Mass” has one rather determined representative. This re-

a The reference is to the author of an anonymous report published in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft VI, May 1844, in the section “Correspondenz aus der Provinz”.— Ed.


presentative speaks of the exclusively “Hegelian philosophical education of the Berlin Couleur ”. 64

“The only true progress that vve can make,” he says, “lies in the acknowledgement of reality. But we learn from you that our knowl¬ edge was not knowledge of reality but of something unreal.”

He calls “natural science” this basis of philosophy.

“A good naturalist stands in the same relation to the philosopher as the philosopher to the theologian.”

Further he comments as follows on the “Berlin Couleur”.

“I do not think it would be exaggerating to try to explain the state of these people by saying that, although they have gone through a process of spiritual moulting, they have not yet altogether got rid of their old skin in order to be able to absorb the elements of renova¬ tion and rejuvenation.” “We must yet assimilate this” (natural-scien¬ tific and industrial) “knowledge”. “The knowledge of the W’orld and of man, which we need most of all, cannot be acquired only by acuity of thought; all the sense must collaborate and all the aptitudes of man must be applied as indispensable instruments; otherwise contemplation and knowledge will always remain defective—and will lead to moral death."

This correspondent, however, sweetens the pill that he hands out to Critical Criticism. He “makes Bauer's words find their correct application”, he has “followed Bauer's thoughts ”, he agrees that “ Bauer has spoken the truth”, and in the end he seems to polemise, not against Criticism itself, but against a “Berlin Couleur” which is distinct from it.

Critical Criticism, feeling itself hit and, moreover, being as sensitive as an old maid in all matters of faith, is not taken in by these distinctions and this semi-homage.

“You are mistaken ,” it answers, “if you have taken the party you described at the beginning of your letter for your opponent. Rather admit ” (and now comes the crushing sentence of excommunication) “that you are an opponent of Criticism itself 1”

The miserable wretch! The man of the Mass! An opponent of Criticism itself\ But as far as the content of that mass-type polemic is concerned, Critical Criticism declares its respect for its Critical attitude to natural science and industry.


"All respect for natural science! All respect for James Watt and” (a really noble turn!) “no respect at all for the millions that he made for his relatives.”

All respect for the respect of Critical Criticism! In the same le'ter in which Critical Criticism reproaches the above-mentioned Berlin Couleur with too easily disposing of thorough and solid works without studying them and having finished with a work when they have merely remarked that it is epoch-making, etc. —in that same letter Criticism itself disposes of the whole of natural science and industry by merely declaring its respect for them. The clause which it appends to its declaration of respect for natural science reminds one of the first fulminations of the deceased knight Krug against natural philosophy.

“Nature is not the only reality because we eat and drink it in its individual products.”

Critical Criticism knows this much about the individual prod¬ ucts of nature that “we eat and drink them”. All respect for the natural science of Critical Criticism!

Criticism is consistent in countering the embarrassingly im¬ portunate demand to study “nature” and “industry” with the following indisputably witty rhetorical exclamation:

“Or”(!) “do you think that the knowledge of historical reality is already complete ? Or” (!) “do you know of any single period in history which is already actually known?”

Or does Critical Criticism believe that it has reached even the beginning of a knowledge of historical reality so long as it excludes from the historical movement the theoretical and prac¬ tical relation of man to nature, i.e., natural science and indus¬ try? Or does it think that it actually knows any period without knowing, for example, the industry of that period, the imme¬ diate mode of production of life itself? Of course, spiritualistic, theological Critical Criticism only knows (at least it imagines it knows) the main political, literary and theological acts of history. Just as it separates thinking from the senses, the soul from the body and itself from the world, it separates history from natural science and industry and sees the origin of history


not in vulgar material production on the earth but in vaporous clouds in the heavens.

The representative of the “obdurate” and “hard-hearted” Mass with his trenchant reproofs and counsels is disposed of as a mass-type materialist. Another correspondent, not so malicious or mass-like, who places his hopes in Critical Criticism but finds them unsatisfied, fares no better. The representative of the “ un¬ satisfied ” Mass writes:

“I must, however, admit that the first number of your paper was by no means satisfying. We expected something else!”

The Critical patriarch answers in person:

“I knew beforehand that it would not satisfy expectations, because I could rather easily imagine those expectations. One is so exhausted that one wishes to have everything at once. Everything? No! If possible everything and nothing at the same time. An everything that costs no trouble, an everything that one can absorb without going through any development, an everything that is contained in a single word.”

In his vexation at the undue demands of the “Mass”, which demands something, indeed everything, from Criticism, which by principle and disposition “ gives nothing ”, the Critical pa¬ triarch relates an anecdote in the way that old men do. Not long ago a Berlin acquaintance complained bitterly of the ver¬ bosity and profusion of detail of his works—Herr Bruno is known to make a bulky work out of the tiniest semblance of a thought. He was consoled with the promise of being sent the ink neces¬ sary for the printing of the book in a small pellet so that he could easily absorb it. The patriarch explains the length of his “works” by the bad spreading of the ink, as he explains the nothingness of his Literatur-Zeitung by the emptiness of the “pro¬ fane Mass”, which, in order to be full, wants to swallow every¬ thing and nothing at the same time.

Just as it is difficult to deny the importance of what has so far been related, it is equally difficult to see a world-historic contradiction in the fact that a mass-type acquaintance of Crit¬ ical Criticism considers Criticism empty, while Criticism, for its part, declares him to be un-Critical; that a second acquaintance


does not find that the Literatur-Zeitung satisfies his expectations, and that a third acquaintance and friend of the family finds Criticism’s works too bulky. However, acquaintance No. 2, who entertains expectations, and friend of the family No. 3, who wishes at least to find out the secrets of Critical Criticism, cons¬ titute the transition to a more substantial and tenser relationship between Criticism and the “un-Critical Mass”. Cruel as Criticism is to the “hard-hearted” Mass which has only “common human reason”, we shall find it condescending to the Mass that is pining for redemption from contradiction. The Mass which ap¬ proaches Criticism with a contrite heart, a spirit of repentance and a humble mind will be rewarded for its honest striving with many a wise, prophetic and outspoken word.

b) The “Soft-Hearted” Mass “Pining for Redemption”

The representative of the sentimental, soft-hearted Mass pining for redemption cringes and implores Critical Criticism for a kind word with effusions of the heart, deep bows and rolling of the eyes, as follows:

“Why am I writing this to you? Why am I justifying myself before you? Because I respect you and therefore desire your respect; because I owe you deepest thanks for my development and therefore love you. My heart impels me to justify myself before you . . . who have up¬ braided me. . . . Far be it from me to obtrude upon you; judging by myself, I thought you might be pleased to have proof of sympathy from a man who is still little known to you. I make no claim what¬ soever that you should answer my letter: I wish neither to take up your time, of which you can make better use, nor to be irksome to you, nor to expose myself to the mortification of seeing something that I hoped for remain unfulfilled. You may interpret my letter as sentimentality, importunity or vanity” (!) “or whatever you like; you may answer me or not, I cannot resist the impulse to send it and I only hope that you will realise the friendly feeling which inspired it” (!!).

Just as from the beginning God has had mercy on the poor in spirit, this mass-like but humble correspondent, too, who whimpers for mercy from Critical Criticism, has his wish fulfilled. Critical Criticism gives him a kind answer. More than that! It


gives him most profound explanations on the objects of his curiosity.

Two years ago, Critical Criticism teaches, “it was opportune to remember the Enlightenment of the French in the eighteenth century in order to be able to make use of those light troops, too, at a place in the battle that was then being waged. The situation is now quite differ¬ ent. Truths now change very quickly. What was then opportune is now an oversight

Of course it was only “an oversight” then too, but an “op¬ portune” one, when the Absolute Critical All-high itself (cf. Anekdota, Book II, p. 89) a called those light troops “our saints”, our “prophets ”, “patriarchs”, etc. Who would call light troops a troop of “patriarchs”? It was an “opportune” oversight when it spoke with enthusiasm of the self-denial, moral energy and inspiration with which these light troops “thought, worked—and studied—throughout their lives for the truth”. It was an “over¬ sight” when, in the preface to Das entdeckte Christenthum, it was stated that these “light” troops “seemed invincible and any one well-informed would have wagered that they would put the world out of joint” and that “it seemed beyond doubt that they would succeed in giving the world a new shape”. Those light troops?

Critical Criticism continues to teach the inquisitive repre¬ sentative of the “cordial Mass”:

“Although it was a new historical merit of the French to attempt to set up a social theory, they are none the less now exhausted; their new theory was not yet pure, their social fantasies and their peaceful democracy are by no means free from the assumptions of the old state of things.”

Criticism is talking here about Fourierism —if it is talking about anything—and in particular of the Fourierism of La De¬ mocratic pacifique. But this is far from being the “social theory” of the French. The French have social theories, but not a social theory; the diluted Fourierism that La Democratic pacifique

d B. Bauer, “Leiden und Freuden des theologischen Bewusstseins.” Anekdota zur neuesten deutschen Philosophie und Publicistik, Bd. 2.— Ed.


preaches is nothing but the social doctrine of a section of the philanthropic bourgeoisie. The people is communistic, and, as a matter of fact, split into a multitude of different groups; the true movement and the elaboration of these different social shades is not only not exhausted, it is really only beginning. But it will not end in pure, i.e., abstract, theory as Critical Criticism would like it to; it will end in a quite practical practice that will not bother at all about the categorical categories of Criticism.

“No nation,” Criticism chatters on, “has so far any advantage over another. If one can succeed in winning some spiritual superiority over the others, it will be the one which is in a position to criticise itself and the others and to discover the causes of the universal decay.”

Every nation has so far some advantage over another. But if the Critical prophecy is right, no nation will have any advan¬ tage over another, because all the civilised peoples of Europe— the English, the Germans, the French—now “ criticise themselves and others” and “are in a position to discover the causes of the universal decay”. Finally, it is high-sounding tautology to say that “criticising”, “discovering”, i.e., spiritual activities, give a spiritual superiority , and Criticism, which in its infinite self-con¬ sciousness places itself above the nations and expects them to kneel at its feet and implore it for enlightenment, only shows by this caricatured Christian-Germanic idealism that it is still up to its neck in the mire of German nationalism.

The criticism of the French and the English is not an abs¬ tract, preternatural personality outside mankind; it is the real human activity of individuals who are active members of society and who suffer, feel, think and act as human beings. That is why their criticism is at the same time practical, their commun¬ ism a socialism in which they give practical, concrete mea¬ sures, and in which they not only think but even more act, it is the living, real criticism of existing society, the recognition of the causes of “the decay”.

After Critical Criticism’s explanations for the inquisitive mem¬ ber of the Mass, it is entitled to say of its Literatur-Zeitung:

“Here Criticism that is pure, graphic, relevant and adds nothing is practised.”


Here “nothing self-existing is given”; here nothing at all is given except criticism that gives nothing, that is, criticism which culminates in extreme non-criticism. Criticism has underlined passages printed and reaches its full bloom in excerpts. Wolfgang Menzel and Bruno Bauer stretch a brotherly hand to each other and Critical Criticism stands where the philosophy of identity stood at the beginning of this century, when Schelling protested against the mass-like supposition that he wanted to give some¬ thing, anything except pure, entirely philosophical philosophy. 60

c) Grace Bestowed on the Mass

The soft-hearted correspondent whose instruction we have just witnessed stood in a comfortable relationship to Criticism. In his case there was only an idyllic hint of the tension between the Mass and Criticism. Both sides of the world-historic contra¬ diction behaved kindly and politely, and therefore exoterically, to each other.

Critical Criticism, in its unhealthy, soul-shattering effect on the Mass, is seen first in regard to a correspondent who has one foot already in Criticism and the other still in the profane world. He represents the “Mass” in its inner struggle with Criticism.

At times it seems to him “that Herr Bruno and his friends do not understand mankind ”, that “they are the ones who are really blinded”. Then he immediately corrects himself:

“YeSj it is as clear as daylight to me that you are right and that your thoughts are correct; but excuse me, the people is not wrong either. .. . Oh yes! The people is right. ... I cannot deny that you are right. ... I really do not know what it will all lead to: you will say •. . well, stay at home. . . . Alas, I can no longer stand it. . .. Alas! One might otherwise go mad in the end.... Kindly accept.... Believe me, the knowledge one has acquired sometimes makes one feel as stupid as if a mill-wheel were turning in one’s head.”

Another correspondent, too, writes that he “is occasionally disconcerted”. One can see that Critical grace is about to be bestowed on this mass-type correspondent. The poor wretch! The sinful Mass is tugging at him on one side and Critical


Criticism on the other. It is not the knowledge he has acquired that reduces this pupil of Critical Criticism to a stage of stupor; it is the question of faith and conscience; Critical Christ or the people, God or the world, Bruno Bauer and his friends or the profane Mass! But just as bestowal of divine grace is preceded by extreme wretchedness of the sinner, Critical grace is preceded by a crushing stupefaction. And when it is at last bestowed, the chosen one loses not stupidity but the consciousness of stupidity.

3. The Un-Critically Critical Mass or “Criticism” and the “Berlin Couleur”


Critical Criticism has not succeeded in depicting itself as the essential opposite, and hence at the same time as the essential object, of the mass of humanity. Apart from the representatives of the obdurate Mass which reproaches Critical Criticism for its objectlessness and gives it to understand in the most courteous possible way that it has not yet gone through the process of its spiritual “moult” and must first of all acquire solid knowledge, there is the soft-hearted correspondent. He is no opposite at all, but then the actual reason for his approach to Critical Criticism is a purely personal one. As we can see a little further on in his letter, he really only wants to reconcile his devotion to Herr Arnold Ruge with his devotion to Herr Bruno Bauer. This attempt at reconciliation does credit to his kind heart, but it in no way constitutes an interest of a mass nature. Finally, the last correspondent to appear was no longer a real member of the Mass, he was only a catechumen of Critical Criticism.

In general, the Mass is an indefinite object, and therefore can neither carry out a definite action nor enter into a definite relationship. The Mass, as the object of Critical Criticism, has nothing in common with the real masses who, for their part, form among themselves oppositions of a pronounced mass nature. Critical Criticism’s mass is “made” by Criticism itself, as would


be the case if a naturalist, instead of speaking of definite classes, contrasted the Class to himself.

Hence, in order to have an opposite of a really mass nature, Critical Criticism needs, besides this abstract Mass which is the figment of its own brain, a definite Mass that can be empirically demonstrated and not just conjured up. This mass must see in Critical Criticism both its essence and the annihilation of its es¬ sence. It must wish to be Critical Criticism, non-Mass, without being able to. This Critically un-Critical Mass is the above- mentioned “ Berlin Couleur". The mass of humanity which is seriously concerned with Critical Criticism is confined to a Berlin Couleur.

The “Berlin Couleur”, the “ essential object ” of Critical Crit¬ icism, of which it is always thinking and which, Critical Crit¬ icism imagines, is always thinking of Critical Criticism, consists, as far as we know, of a few ci-devant a Young Hegelians in whom Critical Criticism claims to inspire partly a horror vac up and partly a feeling of futility. We are not investigating the ac¬ tual state of affairs, we rely on what Criticism says.

The Correspondence is mainly intended to expound at length to the public this world-historic relation of Criticism to the “Berlin Couleur”, to reveal its profound significance, to show why Criticism must necessarily be cruel towards this “Mass”, and finally to make it appear that the whole world is in fearful agitation over this opposition, expressing itself now in favour of, and then against the actions of Criticism. For example, Absolute Criticism writes to a correspondent who sides with the “Berlin Couleur”:

“I have already heard things like that so often that I have made up my mind not to take any more notice of them.”

The world has no idea how often it has dealt with Critical things like that.

Let us now hear what a number of the Critical Mass reports on the Berlin Couleur:

a Former.— Ed.

•> Horror of emptiness.— Ed.



“‘If anyone recognises the Batters’ ” (the Holy Family must always be recognised pele-mele) “began his answer 3 — 'I am the one. But the Literatur-Zeitung\ Let us be quite fair!’ It was interesting for me to hear what one of those radicals, those clever men of anno 42, thought of you... .”

The correspondent goes on to report that the unfortu¬ nate man had all sorts of reproaches to make to the Literatur- Zeitung.

Herr Edgar’s short story, Die drei Biedermanner, h he found lacking in polish and exaggerated. He could not understand that censorship is not so much a fight of man against man, an external fight, as an internal one. They do not take the trouble to bethink themselves and to replace the phrase the censor objects to by a cleverly expressed and thoroughly developed Critical thought. He found Herr Edgar’s essay on Beraud c lacking in thoroughness. The Critical reporter thinks it was thorough. True, he admitted himself: “I have not read Beraud’s book.” But he believes that Herr Edgar has succeeded, etc., and belief, we know, is bliss. “In general,” the Critical believer continues, “he” (the one from the Berlin Couleur) “is not at all satisfied with Herr Edgar’s works.” He also finds that “Proudhon is not dealt with thoroughly enough”. d And here the reporter gives Herr Edgar a testimonial:

"It is true ” (!?) “that I am acquainted with Proudhon. I know that Edgar’s presentation took the characteristic points from him and set them out dearly.”

The only reason why Herr Edgar’s excellent criticism of Prou¬ dhon is not liked, the reporter says, can only be that Herr Edgar does not fulminate against property. And just imagine it, the opponent finds Herr Edgar’s essay on the “ Union ouvriere” c unimportant. To console Herr Edgar the reporter says:

3 The reference is to the answer given by an adherent to the Berlin Couleur to one of the authors of the anonymous report “Aus der Pro- vinz” published in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft VI, May 1844.— Ed.

b Published in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft III-V.— Ed.

c See pp. 26-27 of this edition.— Ed.

d See pp. 30-68 of this edition.— Ed.

  • See pp. 25-26 of this edition.— Ed.


“Of course, it does not give anything independent, and these people have really gone back to Gruppe' s point of view, which, to be sure, they have always maintained. Criticism must give, give and give!"

As though Criticism had not given quite new linguistic, his¬ torical, philosophical, economic, and juridical discoveries! And it is so modest as to let itself be told that it has not given anything independent ! Even our Critical correspondent gave mechanics something that it had not hitherto known when he made people go back to the same point of view which they had always maintained. It is clumsy to recall Gruppe’ s point of view. In his pamphlet, which is otherwise miserable and not worth mentioning, Gruppe asked Herr Bruno what criticism he could give on speculative logic , 66 Herr Bruno referred him to future generations and—

“a fool is waiting for an answer”.*

As God punished the unbelieving Pharaoh by hardening his heart and did not think him worthy of being enlightened, so the reporter assures us:

“They are therefore not at all worthy of seeing or knowing the contents of your Literatur-Zeitung.”

And instead of advising his friend Edgar to acquire thoughts and knowledge he gives him the following advice:

“Let Edgar get a bag of phrases and draw blindly out of it when he writes essays in future, in order to acquire a style in harmony with the public.”

Besides assurances of “a certain fury, ill-favour, emptiness, thoughtlessness, an inkling of something which they are not able to fathom, and a feeling of nullity” (all these epithets apply, of course, to the Berlin Couleur), eulogies like the following are made of the Holy Family:

“Lightness of treatment penetrating the matter, command of the categories, insight acquired by study, in a word, command of the

  • H. Heine, Die Nordsee (second cycle “Fragen”).— Ed.



Objects. He” (of the Berlin Couleur) “takes an easy attitude to the thing, you make the thing easy”. Or: “Your criticism in the Literatur- Zeitung is pure, graphic and relevant.”

Finally it is stated:

“I have written it all to you at such length because I know that I shall give you pleasure by reporting the opinions of my friend. From this you can see that the Literatur-Zeitung is fulfilling its pur¬ pose.”

Its purpose is opposition to the Berlin Couleur. Having just witnessed the Berlin Couleur’s polemic against Critical Criticism and the reproof it received for that polemic, we are now given a double picture of its efforts to obtain mercy from Critical Criticism.

One correspondent writes:

“My acquaintances in Berlin told me when I was there at the beginning of the year that you repel all and keep all at a distance; that you keep yourself to yourself and let nobody approach you, as¬ siduously avoiding all intercourse. I, of course, cannot tell which side is to blame.”

Absolute Criticism replies:

“Criticism does not form any party and will have no party of its own; it is solitary because it is engrossed in its”!) “object and op¬ poses itself to it. It isolates itself from everything.”

Critical Criticism thinks it rises above all dogmatic anti¬ theses by substituting for the real antitheses the imaginary anti¬ thesis between itself and the world, between the Holy Ghost and the profane Mass. In the same way it thinks it rises above parties by falling below the party point of view, by counterposing itself as a party to the rest of mankind and concentrating all interest in the personality of Herr Bruno and Co. The truth of Critic- ism’s admission that it sits enthroned in the solitude of abstrac¬ tion, that even when it seems to be occupied with some object it does not come out of its objectless solitude into a truly social relation to a real object, because its object is only the object of its imagination, only an imaginary object—the truth of this Critical admission is proved by the whole of our exposition.


Equally correctly Criticism defines its abstraction as absolute abstraction, in the sense that “it isolates itself from everything ”, and precisely this isolation of nothing from everything, from all thought, contemplation, etc., is absolute nonsense. Inciden¬ tally, the solitude which it achieves by isolating and abstracting itself from everything is no more free from the object from which it abstracts itself than Origen was from the genital organ that he isolated from himself.

Another correspondent begins by describing one of the mem¬ bers of the “Berlin Couleur”, whom he saw and spoke with, as “gloomy”, “depressed”, “no longer able to open his mouth” (although he was formerly always “ready with a quite impudent word”), and “despondent”. This member of the “Berlin Couleur” related the following to the correspondent, who in turn reported it to Criticism:

“He cannot grasp how people like you two, who formerly respect¬ ed the principle of humanity, can behave in such an aloof, repellirfg, indeed arrogant manner.” He does not know “why there are some people who, it seems, intentionally cause a split. Have we not all the same point of view? Do we not all pay homage to the extreme, to Crit¬ icism? Are we not all capable, if not of producing, at least of grasp¬ ing and applying an extreme thought?” He “finds that this split is motivated by no other principle than egoism and arrogance.”

Then the correspondent puts in a good word:

“Have not at least some of our friends grasped Criticism, or per¬ haps the good will of Criticism ... ‘ut desint vires, tamen est laudartda voluntas

Criticism replies with the following antitheses between itself and the Berlin Couleur:

“There are various standpoints on criticism.” The members of the Berlin Couleur “thought they had criticism in their pock¬ et”, but Criticism “really knows and applies the force of crit¬ icism”, i.e., does not keep it in its pocket. For the former, crit¬ icism is pure form, whereas for Criticism, on the other hand, it

a “The strength may be lacking, but the will is praiseworthy”.— Ed. '


is the “most substantial or rather the only substantial thing”. Just as Absolute Thought considers itself the whole of reality, so does Critical Criticism. That is why it sees no content outside itself and is therefore not the criticism of real objects existing outside the critical subject; on the contrary, it makes the object, it is the Absolute Subject-Object. Further! “The former kind of criticism disposes of everything, of the investigation of things, by means of phrases. The latter isolates itself from everything by means of phrases.” The former is “ clever in ignorance ”, the latter is “learning”. The latter, at any rate, is not clever, it learns par $a, par la* but only in appearance, only in order to be able to fling what it has superficially learnt from the Mass back at the Mass in the form of a “catchword”, as wisdom that it itself has discovered, and to resolve it into the nonsense of Critical Criticism.

“For the former, words such as ‘extreme’, ‘proceed’, 'not go far enough’ are of importance and highly revered categories; the latter investigates the standpoints and does not apply to them the measures of those abstract categories.”

The exclamations of criticism No. 2 that it is no longer a question of politics, that philosophy is done away with, and its dismissal of social systems and developments by means of words like “fantastic”, “utopian”, etc.—what is all that if not a Critic¬ ally revised version of “proceeding” and “not going far enough”? And are not its “measures”, such as “ History”, “Criticism”, “summing up of objects”, “the old and the new”, “Criticism and Mass”, “investigation of standpoints”—in a word, are not all its catchwords categorical measures and abstractly categorical ones at that!?

“The former is theological, spiteful, envious, petty, presumptuous, the latter is the opposite of all that.”

After thus praising itself a dozen times in one breath and as¬ cribing to itself all that the Berlin Couleur lacks, just as God is all that man is not, Criticism bears witness to itself that:

a Here and there.— Ed.


“It has achieved a clarity, a thirst for learning, a tranquillity in which it is unassailable and invincible.”

Hence it can “at the most treat” its opponent, the Berlin Couleur, “with Olympic laughter". This laughter —it explains with its customary thoroughness what it is and what it is not —“this laughter is not arrogance”. By no means! It is the nega¬ tion of the negation. It is “ only the process that the Critic must apply in all ease and equanimity against a subordinate stand¬ point which thinks itself equal to him” (what conceit!). When the Critic laughs, therefore, he is applying a process'. And “in all equanimity” he applies the process of laughter not against persons, but against a standpoint ! Even laughter is a category which he applies and even must apply!

Extramundane Criticism is not an essential activity of the human subject who is real and therefore lives and suffers in present-day society, sharing in its pains and pleasures. The real individual is only an accidental feature, an earthly vessel of Critical Criticism, which reveals itself in it as eternal Substance. The subject is not the human individual’s criticism, but the non¬ human individual of Criticism. Criticism is not a manifestation of man, but man is an alienation of Criticism, and that is why the Critic lives completely outside society.

“Can the Critic live in the society which he criticises?”

It should be asked instead: Must he not live in that society? Must he not himself be a manifestation of the life of that so¬ ciety? Why does the Critic sell the products of his mind, for thereby he makes the worst law of present-day society his own law?

“The Critic must not even dare to mix personally with society.”

That is why he creates for himself a Holy Family, just as the solitary God endeavours in the Holy Family to end his tedious isolation from society. If the Critic wants to free himself from bad society he must first of all free himself from his own society.



“Thus the Critic dispenses with all the pleasures of society, but its sufferings, too, stay remote from him. He knows neither friendship ” (except that of Critical friends) “nor love” (except self-love) “but on the other hand calumny is powerless against him; nothing can offend him; no hatred, no envy can affect him; vexation and grief are feelings unknown to him.”

In short, the Critic is free from all human passions, he is a divine person; he can apply to himself the song of the nun:

I think not of a lover,

I think not of a spouse.

I think of God the Father,

For he my life endows.a

Criticism cannot write a single passage without contradicting itself. Thus it tells us finally:

“The Philistinism that stones the Critic” (he has to be stoned by analogy with the Bible), “that misjudges him and ascribes impure motives to him” (ascribes impure motives to pure Criticism!) “in order to make him equal to itself" (the conceit of equality reproved above!), “is not laughed at by him, because it is not worth it, but is seen through and calmly relegated to its own insignificant significance.”

Earlier the Critic had to apply the process of laughter to the “subordinate standpoint that thought itself equal to him”. Critical Criticism’s unclarity about its mode of procedure with the godless “Mass” seems almost to indicate an interior irrita¬ tion, a sort of bile to which “feelings” are not “unknown”.

However, there should be no misunderstanding. Having waged a Herculean struggle to free itself from the un-Critical “profane Mass” and “everything”, Critical Criticism has at last succeeded in achieving its solitary, god-like, self-sufficient, absolute existence. If in its first pronouncement in this, its “new phase”, the old world of sinful feelings seems still to have some power over it, we shall now see Criticism find aesthetic relaxation and transfi¬ guration in an '‘artistic form ” and complete its penance so it can finally as a second triumphant Christ accomplish the Critical last judgment and after its victory over the dragon ascend calmly to heaven.

a From the German folk-song Die Nonne published in the book by F. K. Freiherr von Erlach, Die Volkslieder der Deutschen, Bd. IV.— Ed.





Rudolph , Prince of Geroldstein, does penance in his earthly course for a double crime: his personal crime and that of Critical Criticism. In a furious dialogue he drew his sword against his father; Critical Criticism, also in a furious dialogue, let itself be carried away by sinful feelings against the Mass. Critical Criticism did not reveal a single mystery. Rudolph does penance for that and reveals all mysteries.

Rudolph, Herr Szeliga informs us, is the first servant of the state of humanity (the Humanitdtsstaat of the Swabian Egidius. See Konstitutionelle Jahrbiicher by Dr. Karl Weil, 1844, Bd. 2). 67

For the world not to be destroyed, Herr Szeliga asserts, it is necessary that

“men of ruthless criticism appear.... Rudolph is such a man.... Ru¬ dolph grasps the thought of pure criticism. And that thought is more fruitful for him and mankind than all the experiences of the latter in its history, than all the knowledge that Rudolph, guided even by the most reliable teacher, was able to derive from that history. . .. The impartial judgment by which Rudolph perpetuates his earthly course is, in fact, nothing but

the revelation of the mysteries of society.”

He is “the revealed mystery of all mysteries."

Rudolph has far more external means at his disposal than the other man of Critical Criticism. But the latter consoles itself:

  • In this chapter Marx continues his criticism of Szeliga’s article

“Eugene Sue: Die Geheimnisse von Paris” (see pp. 69-97 of this edition). —Ed.




“Unattainable for those less favoured by destiny are Rudolph’s results ” (!), “not unattainable is the splendid goal (!).”

That is why Criticism leaves the realisation of its own thoughts to Rudolph, who is so favoured by destiny. It sings to him:

Hahnemann, go on ahead.

You’ve waders on, you won’t get wet!*

Let us accompany Rudolph in his Critical earthly course, which “is more fruitful for mankind than all the experiences of the latter in its history, than all the knowledge” etc., and which twice saves the world from destruction.

1. Critical Transformation of a Butcher into a Dog, or Chourineur b

Chourineur was a butcher by trade. Owing to a concourse of circumstances, this mighty son of nature becomes a murd¬ erer. Rudolph comes across him accidentally just when he is molesting Fleur de Marie. Rudolph gives the dexterous brawler a few impressive, masterly punches on the head, and thus wins his respect. Later, in the tavern frequented by criminals, Chou- rineur’s kind-hearted disposition is revealed. “You still have heart and honour,” Rudolph says to him. By these words he instils in Chourineur respect for himself. Chourineur is reformed or, as Herr Szeliga says, is transformed into a “ moral being". Ru¬ dolph takes him under his protection. Let us follow the course of Chourineur’s education under the guidance of Rudolph.

1st Stage. The first lesson Chourineur receives is a lesson in hypocrisy, faithlessness, craft and dissimulation. Rudolph uses the reformed Chourineur in exactly the same way as Vidocq used the criminals he had reformed, i.e., he makes him a mou-

3 From the German folk-tale Sieben Schwaben published in Volks- bucher, hrsg. v. G.O. Marbach.— Ed.

b Chourineur is French thieves’ slang for a murderous ruffian.— Ed.


chard a and agent provocateur. He advises him to “pretend” to the “maitre d’ecole” h that he has altered his “principle of not stealing” and to suggest a robbery so as to lure him into a trap set by Rudolph. Chourineur feels that he is being made a fool of. He protests against the suggestion of playing the role of mou- chard and agent provocateur. Rudolph easily convinces the son of nature by the “pure” casuistry of Critical Criticism that a foul trick is not foul when it is done for “good, moral” reasons. Chourineur, as an agent provocateur and under the pretence of friendship and confidence, lures his former companion to de¬ struction. For the first time in his life he commits an act of in¬ famy.

2nd Stage. We next find Chourineur acting as garde-malade c to Rudolph, whom he has saved from mortal danger.

Chourineur has become such a respectable moral being that he rejects the Negro doctor David’s suggestion to sit on the floor, for fear of dirtying the carpet. He is indeed too shy to sit on a chair. He first lays the chair on its back and then sits on the front legs. He never fails to apologise when he addresses Ru¬ dolph, whom he saved from a mortal danger, as “friend” or “ Monsieur ” instead of “Monseigneur”.

What a wonderful training of the ruthless son of nature! Chou¬ rineur expresses the innermost secret of his Critical transforma¬ tion when he admits to Rudolph that he has the same attach¬ ment for him as a bulldog for its master: “Je me sens pour vous, comme qui dirait I’attachement d’un bouledogue pour son mai¬ tre.” The former butcher is transformed into a dog. Henceforth all his virtues will be reduced to the virtue of a dog, pure “ denouement ” to its master. His independence, his individuality, will disappear completely. But just as bad painters have to label their pictures to say what they are supposed to represent, Eugene Sue has to put a label on “ bulldog ” Chourineur, who constantly

a Police spy.—Ed.

b The “maitre d’ecole", a nickname given by his fellow criminals.— Ed. c Sick attendant.— Ed.


affirms: “The two words, ‘You still have heart and honour*, made a man out of me.” Until his very last breath, Chourineur will find the motive for his actions, not in his human individual¬ ity, but in that label. As proof of his moral reformation he will often reflect on his own excellence and the wickedness of other individuals. And every time he throws out moral sentences, Rudolph will say to him: “I like to hear you speak like that.” Chourineur has not become an ordinary bulldog but a moral one.

3rd Stage. We. have already admired the petty-bourgeois respectability which has taken the place of Chourineur’s coarse but daring unceremoniousness. We now learn that, as befits a "moral being”, he has also adopted the gait and demeanour of the petty bourgeois.

“A le voir marcher—on l’eut pris pour le bourgeois le plus inof- fensif du monde.” 3

Still sadder than this form is the content that Rudolph gives his Critically reformed life. He sends him to Africa “to serve as a living and salutary example of repentance to the world of unbelievers”. In future, he will have to represent, not his own human nature, but a Christian dogma.

4th Stage. The Critically moral transformation has made Chourineur a quiet, cautious man who behaves according to the rules of fear and worldly wisdom.

“Le Chourineur,” reports Murph, who in his indiscreet simplicity continually tells tales out of school, “n’a pas dit un mot de l’execution du maitre d’ecole, de peur de se trouver compromis.”*>

So Chourineur knows that the punishment of the maitre d’ecole was an illegal act. But he does not talk about it for fear of compromising himself. Wise Chourineur!

a “To see him walk you would have taken him for the most harm¬ less bourgeois in the world.”— Ed.

b “Chourineur said nothing of the punishment meted out to the maitre d’ecole for fear of compromising himself.”— Ed.


5th Stage. Chourineur has carried his moral education to such perfection that he gives his dog-like attitude to Rudolph a civilised form—he becomes conscious of it. After saving Ger¬ main from a mortal danger he says to him:

“I have a protector who is to me what God is to priests —he is such as to make one kneel before him.”

And in imagination he kneels before his God.

“Monsieur Rudolph,” he says to Germain, “protects you. I say Monsieur’ though I should say ‘Monseigneur’. But I am used to cal¬ ling him ‘Monsieur Rudolph’, and he allows me to.”

“Magnificent awakening and flowering!” exclaims Szeliga in Critical delight.

6th Stage. Chourineur worthily ends his career of pure de- vouement, or moral bulldogishness, by finally letting himself be stabbed to death for his gracious lord. At the moment when Squelette threatens the prince with his knife, Chourineur stays the murderer’s arm. Squelette stabs him. But, dying, Chourineur says to Rudolph:

“I was right when I said that a lump of earth” (a bulldog) “like me can sometimes be useful to a great and gracious master like you.”

To this dog-like utterance, which sums up the whole of Chou- rineur’s Critical life like an epigram, the label put in his mouth adds:

“We are quits, Monsieur Rudolph. You told me that I had heart and honour.”

Herr Szeliga cries as loud as he can:

“What a merit it was for Rudolph to have restored the Schuri- mann »” (?) “to mankind (?)!”

» Schurimann is a Germanised form of Chourineur.— Ed.


2. Revelation of the Mystery of Critical Religion, or Fleur de Marie

a) The Speculative “Marguerite ” 2

A word more about Herr Szeliga’s speculative “Marguerite” before we go on to Eugene Sue’s Fleur de Marie.

The speculative “Marguerite” is above all a correction. The fact is that the reader could conclude from Herr Szeliga’s con¬ struction that Eugene Sue had

“separated the presentation of the objective basis” (of the “world system”) “from the development of the acting individual forces which can be understood only against that background”.

Besides the task of correcting this erroneous conjecture that the reader may have made from Herr Szeliga’s presentation, Mar¬ guerite has also a metaphysical mission in our, or rather Herr Szeliga’s, “epic”.

“The world system and an epic event would still not be artistic¬ ally united in a really single whole if they were only interspersed in a motley mixture—now here a bit of world system and then there some stage play. If real unity is to result, both things ) the mysteries of this prejudiced world and the clarity, frankness and confidence with which Rudolph penetrates and reveals them, must clash in a single indivi¬ dual. ... This is the task of Marguerite.”

Herr Szeliga speculatively constructs Marguerite by analogy with Bauer's construction of the Mother of God.

On one side is the “ divine element ” (Rudolph) to which “all power and freedom” are attributed, the only active prin¬ ciple. On the other side is the passive “world system ” and the human beings belonging to it. The world system is the “ground of reality”. If this ground is not to be “entirely abandoned” or “the last remnant of the natural condition is not to be abolished”; if the world itself is to have some share in the “principle of de¬ velopment” that Rudolph, in contrast to the world, concentrates

a “Fleur de Marie” is translated by the authors into German as ‘Marien-Blume” which means Marguerite.— Ed.


in himself; if “the human element is not to be represented sim¬ ply as unfree and inactive”, Herr Szeliga is bound to fall into the “contradiction of religious consciousness”. Although he tears apart the world system and its activity as the dualism of a dead Mass and Criticism (Rudolph), he is nevertheless obliged to concede some attributes of divinity to the world system and the mass and to give in Marguerite a speculative construction of the unity of the two, Rudolph and the world (see Kritik der Sy- noptiker, Band I, p. 39).

Besides the real relations of the house-owner, the acting “in¬ dividual force”, to his house (the “objective basis”), mystical speculation, and speculative aesthetics too, need a third concrete, speculative unity, a Subject-Object which is the house and house¬ owner in one. As speculation does not like natural mediations in their extensive circumstantiality, it does not realise that the same “bit of world system”, the house, for example, which for one, the house-owner, for example, is an “objective basis”, is for the other, the builder of the house, an “epic event”. In order to get a “really single whole” and “real unity”, Critical Critic¬ ism, which reproaches “romantic art” with the “dogma of unity”, replaces the natural and human connection between the world system and world events by a fantastic connection, a mystical Subject-Object, just as Hegel replaces the real connection be¬ tween man and nature by an absolute Subject-Object which is at one and the same time the whole of nature and the whole of humanity, the Absolute Spirit.

In the Critical Marguerite “the universal guilt of the time, the guilt of mystery”, becomes the “ mystery of guilt", just as the universal debt 3 of mystery becomes the mystery of debts in the indebted EpicierP

According to the Mother-of-God construction, Marguerite should really have been the mother of Rudolph, the redeemer of the world. Herr Szeliga expressly says:

a Here the authors have a pun on the word “ Schuld ” which means “guilt” and “debt”.— Ed.

  • > Grocer.— Ed.


“According to the logical sequence, Rudolph should have been the son of Marguerite.”

•Since, however, he is not her son, but her father, Herr Sze- liga finds in this “the new mystery that the present often bears in its womb the long departed past instead of the future”. He even reveals another mystery, a still greater one, a mystery which directly contradicts mass-type statistics, the mystery that

“a child, if it does not, in its turn, become a father or mother, but goes to its grave pure and innocent, is .. . essentially ... a daughter ”.

Herr Szeliga faithfully follows Hegel’s speculation when, ac¬ cording to the “logical sequence”, he regards the daughter as the mother of her father. In Hegel’s philosophy of history, as in his philosophy of nature, the son engenders the mother, the spirit nature, the Christian religion paganism, the result the be¬ ginning.

After proving that according to the “ logical sequence” Mar¬ guerite ought to have been Rudolph’s mother, Herr Szeliga proves the opposite:

“in order to conform fully to the idea she embodies in our epic, she must never become a mother”.

This shows at least that the idea of our epic and Herr Sze- liga’s logical sequence are mutually contradictory.

The speculative Marguerite is nothing but the “ embodiment of an idea”. But what idea?

“She has the task of representing, as it were, the last tear of grief that the past sheds prior to its final passing away.”

She is the representation of an allegorical tear, and even this little that she is, is only “as it were”.

We shall not follow Herr Szeliga in his further description of Marguerite. We shall leave her the satisfaction, according to Herr Szeliga’s prescription, of “constituting the most decisive antithesis to everyone ”, a mysterious antithesis, as mysterious as the attributes of God.


Neither shall we delve into the “true mystery” that is “de¬ posited by God in the breast of man” and at which the specu¬ lative Marguerite “as it were” hints. We shall pass from Herr Szeliga’s Marguerite to Eugene Sue’s Fleur de Marie and to the Critical miraculous cures Rudolph accomplishes on her.

b) Fleur de Marie

We meet Marie surrounded by criminals, as a prostitute in bondage to the proprietress of the criminals’ tavern. In this de¬ basement she preserves a human nobleness of soul, a human unaffectedness and a human beauty that impress those around her, raise her to the level of a poetical flower of the criminal world and win for her the name of Fleur de Marie.

We must observe Fleur de Marie attentively from her first appearance in order to be able to compare her original form with her Critical transformation.

In spite of her frailty, Fleur de Marie at once gives proof of vitality, energy, cheerfulness, resilience of character—qualities which alone explain her human development in her inhuman situation.

When Chourineur ill-treats her, she defends herself with her scissors. That is the situation in which we first find her. She does not appear as a defenceless lamb who surrenders with¬ out any resistance to overwhelming brutality; she is a girl who can vindicate her rights and put up a fight.

In the criminals’ tavern in the Rue aux Feves she tells Chou¬ rineur and Rudolph the story of her life. As she does so she laughs at Chourineur’s wit. She blames herself because on being released from prison she spent the 300 francs she had earned there on amusements instead of looking for work. “But,” she said, “I had no one to advise me.” The memory of the cata¬ strophe of her life—her selling herself to the proprietress of the criminals’ tavern—puts her in a melancholy mood. It is the first time since her childhood that she has recalled these events.



“Le fait est, que 5a me chagrine de regarder ainsi derriere moi . .. ga doit etre bien bon d’etre honnete.” 3

When Chourineur makes fun of her and tells her she must become honest, she exclaims:

“Honnete, mon dieu! et avec quoi done veux-tu que je sois honnete ?” b

She insists that she is not one “to have fits of tears”: “Je ne suis pas pleurnicheuse” c ; but her position in life is sad— “<^a n’est pas gai” d Finally, contrary to Christian repentance, she pronounces on the past the human sentence, at once Stoic and Epicurean, of a free and strong nature:

“Enfin ce qui est fait, est fait.”e

Let us accompany Fleur de Marie on her first outing with Rudolph.

“The consciousness of your terrible situation has probably often distressed you,” Rudolph says, itching to moralise.

“Yes,” she replies, “more than once I looked over the embank¬ ment of the Seine; but then I would gaze at the flowers and the sun and say to myself: the river will always be there and I am not yet se¬ venteen years old. Who can say? Dans ces moments-la il me semblait que mon sort n’etait pas merite, qu'il y avait en moi quelque chose de bon. Je me disais, on m’a bien tourmente, mais au moins je n’ai ja¬ mais fait de mal a personne.”f

Fleur de Marie considers her situation not as one she has freely created, not as the expression of her own personality, but

3 “The fact is that it grieves me when I look back in this way ... it must be lovely to be honest.”— Ed.

  • > “Honest! My God! What do you want me to be honest with?”


c “I am no crybaby.”— Ed.

>1 “It isn’t a happy one.”— Ed.

c “Well, what is done is done.”— Ed.

f “On such occasions it seemed to me that I had not deserved my fate, that I had something good in me. People have tormented me enough, I used to say to myself, but at least I have never done any harm to anyone.”— Ed.


as a fate she has not deserved. Her bad fortune can change. She is still young.

Good and evil, as Marie conceives them, are not the moral abstractions of good and evil. She is good because she has never caused suffering to anyone, she has always been human towards her inhuman surroundings. She is good because the sun and the flowers reveal to her her own sunny and blossoming nature. She is good because she is still young, full of hope and vitality. Her situation is not good, because it puts an unnatural con¬ straint on her, because it is not the expression of her human im¬ pulses, not the fulfilment of her human desires; because it is full of torment and without joy. She measures her situation in life by her own individuality, her essential nature, not by the ideal of what is good.

In natural surroundings, where the chains of bourgeois life fall away and she can freely manifest her own nature, Fleur de Marie bubbles over with love of life, with a wealth of feel¬ ing, with human joy at the beauty of nature; these show that her social position has only grazed the surface of her and is a mere misfortune, that she herself is neither good nor bad, but human.

“Monsieur Rodolphe, quel bonheur . .. de l’herbe, des champs! Si vous vouliez me permettre de descendre, il fait si beau ... j’aimerais tant a courir dans ces prairies!” 3

Alighting from the carriage, she plucks flowers for Rudolph, “can hardly speak for joy”, etc., etc.

Rudolph tells her that he is going to take her to Madame George’s farm. There she can see dove-cotes, cow-stalls and so forth; there they have milk, butter, fruit, etc. Those are real blessings for this child. She will be merry, that is her main thought. “ C’est a ny pas croire ... comme je veux m’amuser!” b She explains to Rudolph in the most unaffected way her own share of responsibility for her misfortune. “Tout mon sort est

3 “Monsieur Rudolph, what happiness!... grass, fields! If you would allow me to get out, the weather is so fine.... I should love so much to run about in these meadows.”— Ed.

b “You can’t believe how I am longing for some funl”— Ed,



vetiu de ce que je n’ai pas economise mon argent!” 3 She there¬ fore advises him to be thrifty and to put money in the savings- bank. Her fancy runs wild in the castles in the air that Rudolph builds for her. She becomes sad only because she

“has forgotten the present ” and “the contrast of that present with the dream of a joyous and laughing existence reminds her of the cruelty of her situation”.

So far we have seen Fleur de Marie in her original un¬ critical form. Eugene Sue has risen above the horizon of his narrow world outlook. He has slapped bourgeois prejudice in the face. He will hand over Fleur de Marie to the hero Ru¬ dolph to atone for his temerity and to reap applause from all old men and women, from the whole of the Paris police, from the current religion and from “Critical Criticism”.

Madame George, to whom Rudolph entrusts Fleur de Marie, is an unhappy, hypochondriacal religious woman. She immediate¬ ly welcomes the child with the unctuous words: “God blesses those who love and fear him, who have been unhappy and who repent .” Rudolph, the man of “pure Criticism”, has the wretched priest Laporte, whose hair has greyed in superstition, called in. He has the mission of accomplishing Fleur de Marie’s Critical reform.

Joyfully and unaffectedly Marie approaches the old priest. In his Christian brutality, Eugene Sue makes a “marvellous in¬ stinct” at once whisper in her ear that “ shame ends where repen¬ tance and penance begin”, that is, in the church, which alone saves. He forgets the unconstrained merriness of the outing, a merriness which nature’s grace and Rudolph’s friendly sympathy had produced, and which was troubled only by the thought of having to go back to the criminals’ landlady.

The priest Laporte immediately adopts a supermundane at¬ titude. His first words are:

“ God’s mercy is infinite, my dear child! He has proved it to you by not abandoning you in your severe trials. . . . The magnanimous

a “My whole fate is due to the fact that I did not save up my money.”— Ed.


man who saved you fulfilled the word of the Scriptures ” (note—the word of the Scriptures, not a human purpose!): “Verily the Lord is nigh to those who invoke him; he will fulfil their desires ... he will hear their voice and will save them ... the Lord will accomplish his work."

Marie cannot yet understand the evil meaning of the priest’s exhortations. She answers:

“I shall pray for those who pitied me and brought me back to God.”

Her first thought is not for God, it is for her human saviour and she wants to pray for him, not for her own absolution. She attributes to her prayer some influence on the salvation of others. Indeed, she is still so naive that she supposes she has already been brought back to God. The priest feels it is his duty to destroy this unorthodox illusion.

“Soon,” he says, interrupting her, “soon you will deserve absolu¬ tion, absolution from your great errors ... for, to quote the prophet once more, the Lord holdeth up those who are on the brink of falling.”

One should not fail to see the inhuman expressions the priest uses. Soon you will deserve absolution. Your sins are not yet forgiven.

As Laporte, when he receives the girl, bestows on her the consciousness of her sins, so Rudolph, when he leaves her, pre¬ sents her with a gold cross, the symbol of the Christian crucifi¬ xion awaiting her.

Marie has already been living for some time on Madame George’s farm. Let us first listen to a dialogue between the old priest Laporte and Madame George.

He considers “marriage” out of the question for Marie “because no man, in spite of the priest’s guarantee, will have the courage to face the past that has soiled her youth”. He adds: “she has great errors to atone for, her moral sense ought to have kept her upright.”

He proves, as the commonest of bourgeois would, that she could have remained good: “There are many virtuous people m Paris today.” The hypocritical priest knows quite well that at any hour of the day, in the busiest streets, those virtuous


people of Paris pass indifferently by little girls of seven or eight years who sell allumettes * and the like until about midnight as Marie herself used to do and who, almost without exception, will have the same fate as Marie.

The priest has made up his mind concerning Marie’s penance; in his own mind he has already condemned her. Let us follow Marie when she is accompanying Laporte home in the evening.

“See, my child,” he begins with unctuous eloquence, “the bound¬ less horizon the limits of which are no longer visible” (for it is evening), “it seems to me that the calm and the vastness almost give us an idea of eternity.... I am telling you this, Marie, because you are sensitive to the beauties of creation.... I have often been moved by the reli¬ gious admiration which they inspire in you—you who for so long were deprived of religious feeling.”

The priest has already succeeded in changing Marie’s imme¬ diate naive pleasure in the beauties of nature into a religious admiration. For her, nature has already become devout, Chris¬ tianised nature, debased to creation. The transparent sea of space is desecrated and turned into the dark symbol of stagnant eternity. She has already learnt that all human manifestations of her being were “ profane ”, devoid of religion, of real consecra¬ tion, that they were impious and godless. The priest must soil her in her own eyes, he must trample underfoot her natural, spiritual resources and means of grace, in order to make her receptive to the supernatural means of grace he promises her, baptism.

When Marie wants to make a confession to him and asks him to be lenient he answers:

“The Lord has shown you that he is merciful.”

In the clemency which she is shown Marie must not see a natural, self-evident attitude of a related human being to her, another human being. She must see in it an extravagant, super¬ natural, superhuman mercy and condescension; in human le¬ niency she must see divine mercy. She must transcendentalise all

3 Matches.— Ed.


human and natural relationships by making them relationships to God. The way Fleur de Marie in her answer accepts the priest’s chatter about divine mercy shows how far she has already been spoilt by religious doctrine.

As soon as she entered upon her improved situation, she said, she had felt only her new happiness.

“Every instant I thought of Monsieur Rudolph. I often raised my eyes to heaven, to look there, not for God, but for Monsieur Ru¬ dolph, and to thank him. Yes, I confess, Father, I thought more of him than of God; for he did for me what God alone could have done. ... I was happy, as happy as someone who has escaped a great danger for ever.”

Fleur de Marie already finds it wrong that she took a new happy situation in life simply for what it really was, that she felt it as a new happiness, that her attitude to it was a natural, not a supernatural one. She accuses herself of seeing in the man who rescued her what he really was, her rescuer, instead of sup¬ posing some imaginary saviour, God, in his place. She is already caught in religious hypocrisy, which takes away from another man what he has deserved in respect of me in order to give it to God, and which in general regards everything human in man as alien to him and everything inhuman in him as really belonging to him.

Marie tells us that the religious transformation of her thoughts, her sentiments, her attitude to life was effected by Madame George and Laporte.

“When Rudolph took me away from the Cite, I already had a vague consciousness of my degradation. But the education, the advice and examples I got from you and Madame George made me understand . .. that I had been more guilty than unfortunate. . .. You and Madame George made me realise the infinite depth of my damnation."

That is to say she owes to the priest Laporte and Madame George the replacement of the human and therefore bearable consciousness of her degradation by the Christian and hence unbearable consciousness of eternal damnation. The priest and the bigot have taught her to judge herself from the Chris¬ tian point of view.


Marie feels the depth of the spiritual misfortune into which she has been cast. She says:

“Since the consciousness of good and evil had to be so frightful for me, why was I not left to my wretched lot?. . . Had I not been snatched away from infamy, misery and blows would soon have killed me. At least I should have died in ignorance of a purity that I shall always wish for in vain.”

The heartless priest replies:

“Even the most noble nature, were it to be plunged only for a day in the filth from which you have been saved, would be indelibly branded. That is the immutability of divine justice .”

Deeply wounded by this priestly curse uttered in such honey¬ ed tones, Fleur de Marie exclaims:

“You see therefore, I must despair!”

The grey-headed slave of religion answers:

“You must renounce hope of effacing this desolate page from your life, but you must trust in the infinite mercy of God. Here below, my poor child, you will have tears, remorse and penance j but one day up above, forgiveness and eternal bliss!”

Marie is not yet stupid enough to be satisfied with eternal bliss and forgiveness up above.

“Pity, pity, my God!” she cries, “I am so young. . . . Malheur a moi!” a

Then the hypocritical sophistry of the priest reaches its peak:

“On the contrary, happiness for you, Marie; happiness for you to whom the Lord sends this bitter but saving remorse! It shows the reli¬ gious susceptibility of your soul. . . . Each of your sufferings is counted up above. Believe me, God left you awhile on the path of evil only to reserve for you the glory of repentance and the eternal reward due to atonement.”

From this moment Marie is enslaved by the consciousness of sin. In her former most unhappy situation in life she was able

a “Woe unto me!”— Ed.


to develop a lovable, human individuality; in her outward de¬ basement she was conscious that her human essence was her true essence. Now the filth of modern society, which has touched her externally, becomes her innermost being, and continual hypo¬ chondriacal self-torture because of that filth becomes her duty, the task of her life appointed by God himself, the self-purpose of her existence. Formerly she said of herself “ ]e ne suis pas pleurnicheuse" and knew that “ce qui est fait, est fait”. Now self-torment will be her good and remorse will be her glory.

It turns out later that Fleur de Marie is Rudolph’s daughter. We come across her again as Princess of Geroldstein. We over¬ hear a conversation she has with her father.

“En vain je prie Dieu de me delivrer de ces obsessions, de remplir uniquement mon coeur de son pieux amour, de ses saintes esperances, de me prendre enfin toute entiere, puisque je veux me donner toute entiere a lui . . . il n’exauce pas mes voeux—sans doute, parce que mes preoccupations terrestres me rendent indigne d’entrer en commun avec lui.”a

When man has realised that his transgressions are infinite crimes against God he can be sure of salvation and mercy only if he gives himself wholly to God and becomes wholly dead to the world and worldly concerns. When Fleur de Marie realises that her delivery from her inhuman situation in life was a mira¬ cle of God she herself has to become a saint in order to be worthy of such a miracle. Her human love must be transformed into religious love, the striving for happiness into striving for eternal bliss, worldly satisfaction into holy hope, communion with people into communion with God. God must take her enti¬ rely. She herself reveals to us why he does not take her entirely. She has not yet given herself entirely to him, her heart is still preoccupied and engaged with earthly affairs. This is the last flickering of her strong nature. She gives herself entirely up to

a “In vain I pray to God to deliver me from these obsessions to fill my heart solely with his pious love and his holy hopes; in a word, to take me entirely, because I wish to give myself entirely to him .. . he does not grant my wishes, doubtless because my earthly preoccupa¬ tions made me unworthy of communion with him.”— Ed.


God by becoming wholly dead to the world and entering a con¬ vent.

A monastery is no place for him Who has no stock of sins laid in,

So numerous and great That be it early, be it late He may not miss the sweet delight Of penance for a heart contrite.

(Goethe. ) a

In the convent Fleur de Marie is promoted to abbess through the intrigues of Rudolph. At first she refuses to accept this appointment because she feels unworthy. The old abbess per¬ suades her:

“Je vous dirai plus, ma chere fille, avant d’entrer au bercail, votre existence aurait ete aussi egaree, qu’elle a ete au contraire pure et louable . . . que les vertus evangeliques, dont vous avez donne l’exemple depuis votre sejour ici, expieraient et racheteraient encore aux yeux du Seigneur un passe si coupable qu’il fut.”b

From what the abbess says, we see that Fleur de Marie’s earthly virtues have changed into evangelical virtues, or rather that her real virtues can no longer appear otherwise than as evangelical caricatures.

Marie answers the abbess:

“Sainte mere—je crois maintenant pouvoir accepter.” c

Convent life does not suit Marie’s individuality—she dies. Christianity consoles her only in imagination, or rather her Chris¬ tian consolation is precisely the annihilation of her real life and essence—her death.

So Rudolph first changed Fleur de Marie into a repentant

a J. W. Goethe, Zahme Xenien, IX.— Ed.

b “I shall say more, my dear daughter: if before entering the fold your life had been as full of error as, on the contrary, it was pure and praiseworthy . . . the evangelical virtues of which you have given an example since you have been here would have atoned for and redeem¬ ed your past in the eyes of the Lord, no matter how sinful it was.” —Ed.

c “Holy Mother, I now believe that I can accept.”— Ed.


sinner, then the repentant sinner into a nun and finally the nun into a corpse. At her funeral not only the Catholic priest, but also the Critical priest Szeliga preaches a sermon over her grave.

Her “ innocent ” existence he calls her “ transient ” existence, opposing it to “eternal and unforgettable guilt.” He praises the fact that her “last breath ” was a “prayer for forgiveness and pardon”. But just as the protestant Minister, after expounding the necessity of the Lord’s mercy, the participation of the deceased in universal original sin and the intensity of his consciousness of sin, must praise the virtues of the departed in earthly terms, so, too, Herr Szeliga uses the expression:

“And yet personally, she has nothing to ask forgiveness for.”

Finally he throws on Marie’s grave the most faded flower of pulpit eloquence:

“Inwardly pure as human beings seldom are, she has closed her eyes to this world.”


3. Revelation of the Mysteries of Law

a) The Matt re d’icole, or the New Penal Theory.

The Mystery of Solitary Confinement Revealed.

Medical Mysteries

The maitre d’ecole is a criminal of Herculean strength and great intellectual vigour. He was brought up an educated and well-schooled man. This passionate athlete comes into conflict with the laws and customs of bourgeois society, whose universal yardstick is mediocrity, delicate morals and quiet trade. He be¬ comes a murderer and abandons himself to all the excesses of a violent temperament that can nowhere find a fitting human oc¬ cupation.

Rudolph captures this criminal. He wants to reform him crit¬ ically and set him up as an example for the world of law. He quarrels with the world of law not over “ punishment ” itself, but over kinds and methods of punishment. He invents, as the Negro doctor David aptly expresses it, a penal theory which


would be worthy of the “greatest German criminal expert ”, and which has since had the good fortune to be defended by a Ger¬ man criminal expert with German earnestness and German thor¬ oughness. Rudolph has not the slightest idea that one can rise above criminal experts: his ambition is to be “the greatest crim¬ inal expert ”, primus inter pares.* He has the maitre d’ecole blinded by the Negro doctor David.

At first Rudolph repeats all the trivial objections to capital punishment: that it has no effect on the criminal and no effect on the people, for whom it seems to be an entertaining spectacle.

Further Rudolph establishes a difference between the maitre d’ecole and the soul of the maitre d’ecole. It is not the man, not the real maitre d’ecole whom he wishes to save; he wants the spiritual salvation of his soul.

“The salvation of a soul,” he teaches, “is something holy. . . . Every crime can be atoned for and redeemed, the Saviour said, but only if the criminal earnestly desires to repent and atone. The transition from the court to the scaffold is too short. . . . You” (the maitre d’ecole) “have criminally misused your strength. I shall paralyse your strength . . .you will tremble before the weakest, your punishment will be equal to your crime . . . but this terrible punishment will at least leave you the boundless horizon of atonement. ... I shall cut you off only from the outer world in order to plunge you into impenetrable night and leave you alone with the memory of your ignominious deeds. . . . You will be forced to look into yourself . . . your intelligence, which you have degraded, will be roused and will lead you to atonement.”

Since Rudolph regards the soul as holy and man’s body as profane, since he thus considers only the soul to be the true es¬ sence, because—according to Herr Szeliga’s Critical description of humanity—it belongs to heaven, the body and the strength of the maitre d’ecole do not belong to humanity, the manifestation of their essence cannot be given human form or claimed for humanity and cannot be treated as essentially human. The mai¬ tre d’ecole has misused his strength; Rudolph paralyses, lames, destroys that strength. There is no more Critical means of get¬ ting rid of the perverse manifestations of a human essential

The first among equals.— Ed.


strength than the destruction of this essential strength. This is the Christian means—plucking out the eye if it offends or cut¬ ting off the hand if it offends, in a word, killing the body if the body gives offence; for the eye, the hand, the body are really only superfluous sinful appendages of man. Human nature must be killed in order to heal its ailments. Mass-type jurisprudence, too, in agreement here with the “Critical”, sees in the laming and paralysing of human strength the antidote to the objec¬ tionable manifestations of that strength.

What Rudolph, the man of pure Criticism, objects to in profane criminal justice is the too swift transition from the court to the scaffold. He, on the other hand, wants to link vengeance on the criminal with penance and consciousness of sin in the criminal, corporal punishment with spiritual punishment, sen¬ suous torture with the non-sensuous torture of remorse. Profane punishment must at the same time be a means of Christian moral education.

This penal theory, which links jurisprudence with theology, this “revealed mystery of the mystery”, is no other than the penal theory of the Catholic Church, as already expounded at length by Bentham in his work Punishments and Rewards . a In that book Bentham also proved the moral futility of the punish¬ ments of today. He calls legal penalties “ legal parodies ”.

The punishment that Rudolph imposed on the maitre d’ecole is the same as that which Origen imposed on himself. He ema¬ sculates him, robs him of a productive organ, the eye. “The eye is the light of the body.” b It does great credit to Rudolph’s re¬ ligious instinct that he should hit, of all things, upon the idea of blinding. This punishment was current in the thoroughly Chris¬ tian empire of Byzantium and came to full flower in the vigor¬ ous youthful period of the Christian-Germanic states of England and France. Cutting man off from the perceptible outer world, throwing him back into his abstract inner nature in order to correct him—blinding—is a necessary consequence of the Chris-

a Theorie des peines et des recompenses. — Ed. b New Testament, Matthew, 6:22.— Ed.



tian doctrine according to which the consummation of this cut¬ ting off, the pure isolation of man in his spiritualistic “ ego ”, is good itself. If Rudolph does not shut the maitre d’ecole up in a real monastery, as was the case in Byzantium and in Franconia, he at least shuts him up in an ideal monastery, in the cloister of an impenetrable night which the light of the outer world cannot pierce, the cloister of an idle conscience and consciousness of sin filled with nothing but the phantoms of memory.

A certain speculative bashfulness prevents Herr Szeliga from discussing openly the penal theory of his hero Rudolph that worldly punishment must be linked with Christian repentance and atonement. Instead he imputes to him—naturally as a mys¬ tery which is only just being revealed to the world—the theory that punishment must make the criminal the “judge” of his “own” crime.

The mystery of this revealed mystery is Hegel's penal theory. According to Hegel, the criminal in his punishment passes sen¬ tence on himself. Gans developed this theory at greater length. In Hegel this is the speculative disguise of the old jus talionis ,* which Kant expounded as the only juridical penal theory. For Hegel, self-judgment of the criminal remains a mere “Idea”, a mere speculative interpretation of the current empirical punish¬ ments for criminals. He thus leaves the mode of application to the respective stage of development of the state, i.e., he leaves punishment as it is. Precisely in that he shows himself more critical than his Critical echo. A penal theory which at the same time sees in the criminal the man can do so only in abstraction, in imagination, precisely because punishment, coercion, is con¬ trary to human conduct. Moreover, this would be impossible to carry out. Purely subjective arbitrariness would take the place of the abstract law because it would always depend on the of¬ ficial, “honourable and decent” men to adapt the penalty to the individuality of the criminal. Plato long ago realised that the law must be one-sided and take no account of the individual. On the other hand, under human conditions punishment will

The right of retaliation—an eye for an eye.— Ed.


really be nothing but the sentence passed by the culprit on him¬ self. No one will want to convince him that violence from with¬ out, done to him by others, is violence which he had done to himself. On the contrary, he will see in other men his natural saviours from the punishment which he has imposed on himself; in other words, the relation will be reversed.

Rudolph expresses his innermost thought—the purpose of blinding the malt re d’ecole —when he says to him:

“Chacune de tes paroles sera une priere

He wants to teach him to pray. He wants to convert the Herculean robber into a monk whose only work is prayer. Com¬ pared with this Christian cruelty, how humane is the ordinary penal theory that just chops a man’s head off when it wants to destroy him. Finally, it goes without saying that whenever real mass-type legislation was seriously concerned with improving the criminal it acted incomparably more sensibly and humanely than the German Harun al-Rashid. The four Dutch agricultural colonies and the Ostwald penal colony in Alsace are truly hu¬ man attempts in comparison with the blinding of the maitre d’ecole. Just as Rudolph kills Fleur de Marie by handing her over to the priest and consciousness of sin, just as he kills Chourineur by robbing him of his human independence and degrading him into a bulldog, so he kills the maitre d’ecole by having his eyes gouged out in order that he can learn to “pray”.

This is, of course, the way in which all reality emerges “ sim¬ ply ” out of “ pure Criticism”, namely, as a distortion and sense¬ less abstraction of reality.

Immediately after the blinding of the maitre d’ecole Herr Szeliga causes a moral miracle to take place.

“The terrible maitre d’ecole", he reportSj "suddenly recognises the power of honesty and decency and says to Schurimann: 'Yes, I can trust you, you have never stolen anything’.’’

Unfortunately Eugene Sue recorded a statement of the mai¬ tre d’ecole about Chourineur which contains the same recogni-

» ‘ Every word you say will be a prayer.”— Ed.


tion and cannot be the effect of his having been blinded, since it was made earlier. In talking to Rudolph alone, the maitre d’ecole said about Chourineur:

“Du reste il n’est pas capable de vendre un ami. Non: il a du bon . . . il a toujours eu des idees singulieres.”a

This would seem to do away with Herr Szeliga’s moral mir¬ acle. Now we shall see the real results of Rudolph’s Critical cure.

We next meet the maitre d’ecole as he is going with a woman called Chouette to Bouqueval farm to play a foul trick on Fleur de Marie. The thought that dominates him is, of course, the thought of revenge on Rudolph. But the only way he knows of wreaking vengeance on him is metaphysically, by thinking and hatching “evil” to spite him.

“Il m’a ote la vue, il ne m’a pas ote la pensee du mal.” b

He tells Chouette why he had sent for her.

“I was bored all alone with those honest people.”

When Eugene Sue satisfies his monkish, bestial lust in the self- humiliation of man to the extent of making the maitre d’ecole implore on his knees the old hag Chouette and the little imp Tortillard not to abandon him, the great moralist forgets that that is the height of diabolical satisfaction for Chouette. Just as Rudolph, precisely by the violent act of blinding the criminal, proved to him the power of physical force, which he wants to show him is insignificant, so Eugene Sue now teaches the maitre d’ecole really to recognise the full power of the senses. He teaches him to understand that without it man is unmanned and becomes a helpless object of mockery for children. He convinces him that the world deserved his crimes, for he had only to lose his sight to be ill-treated by it. He robs him of his last human illusion, for so far the maitre d’ecole believed in Chouette’s at-

a “Besides, he is not capable of betraying a friend. No, there's something good in him ... he has always had strange ideas.”— Ed.

b “He has taken away my sight but not the thought of evil.”— Ed.


tachment to him. He had said to Rudolph: “She would let her¬ self be thrown into the fire for me.” Eugene Sue, on the other hand, has the satisfaction of hearing the maitre d’ecole cry out in the depths of despair:

“Mon dieu! Mon dieu! Mon dieu!"

He has learnt to “pray” l In this “appel involontaire de la commiseration divine”, Eugene Sue sees “quelque chose de prou- identiel.” 1

The first result of Rudolph’s Criticism is this spontaneous prayer. It is followed immediately by an involuntary atonement at Bouqueval farm, where the ghosts of those whom the maitre d’ecole murdered appear to him in a dream.

We shall not give a detailed description of this dream. We next find the Critically reformed maitre d’ecole fettered in the cellar of the “Bras rouge”, half devoured by rats, half starving and half insane as a result of being tortured by Chouette and Tortillard, and roaring like a beast. Tortillard had delivered Chouette to him. Let us watch the treatment he inflicts on her. He copies the hero Rudolph not only outwardly, by scratching out Chouette’s eyes , but morally too by repeating Rudolph’s hy¬ pocrisy and embellishing his cruel treatment with pious phrases. As soon as the maitre d’ecole has Chouette in his power he gives vent to “ une joie effrayante” b and his voice trembles with rage.

“Tu sens bien,” he says, “que je ne veux pas en finir tout de suite ... torture pour torture ... il faut que je te parle longuement avant de te tuer... 5 a va etre affreux pour toi. D’abord, vois-tu ... depuis ce reve de la ferine de Bouqueval, qui m’a remis sous les yeux tous nos crimes, depuis ce reve, qui a manque de me rendre fou — qui me rendra fou ... il s’est passe en moi un changement etrange.... J’ai eu horreur de ma ferocite passee ... d’abord je ne t’ai pas permis de martyriser la goualeuse, cela n’etait rien encore ... en m’entrainant ici dans cette cave, en m’y faisant souffrir le froid et la faim ... tu m’as Iaisse tout a l’epouvante de mes reflexions ... Oh! tu ne sais pas ce que c’est que d’etre seul . . . l’isolement m’a purifie. Je ne 1’aurais pas cru possible

“ “Spontaneous appeal for divine mercy ... something providen¬

tial.”— Ed.

t> “A terrifying joy.”— Ed.




. . . une preuve que je suis peut-etre moins scelerat qu’autrefois . .. ce que j’eprouve une joie infinie a te tenir la ... monstre .. . non pour me venger, mais ... mais pour venger nos victimes . .. oui, j’aurai accompli un devoir quand de ma propre main j’aurai puni ma complice .. . j’ai maintenant horreur de mes meurtres passes, et pourtant... trouves-tu pas cela bizarre? c’est sans crainte, c’est avec securite que je vais commettre sur toi un meurtre affreux avec des raffinements affreux ... dis... dis ... congois-tu cela?”<*

In those few words the maitre d’ecole goes through a whole gamut of moral casuistry.

His first words are a frank expression of his desire for ven¬ geance. He wants to give torture for torture. He wants to murder Ghouette and he wants to prolong her agony by a long sermon. And—delightful sophistry!—the speech with which he tortures her is a sermon on morals. He asserts that his dream at Bouque- val has improved him. At the same time he reveals the real effect of the dream by admitting that it almost drove him mad and that it will actually do so. He gives as a proof of his reform that he prevented Fleur de Marie from being tortured. Eugene Sue’s personages—earlier Chourineur and now the maitre d’ecole —

a “You realise that I do not want to get it over at once.... Torture for torture.... I must have a long talk with you before killing you.... It is going to be terrible for you. First of all, you see . . . since that dream at Bouqueval farm which brought all our crimes back before me, since that dream which nearly drove me mad ... and which will drive me mad ... a strange change has come over me.... I have become horrified at my past cruelty.... At first I would not let you torture the songstress [Fleur de Marie], but that was nothing.... By bringing me to this cellar and making me suffer cold and hunger . .. you left me to the terror of my own thoughts.. . . Oh, you don’t know what it is to be alone. .. . Isolation purified me. I should not have thought it possible ... a proof that I am perhaps less of a blackguard than before . .. what an infinite joy I feel to have you in my power, you monster ... not in order to revenge myself but ... to avenge our victims. . .. Yes, I shall have done my duty when I have punished my accomplice with my own hand.... I am now horrified at my past murders, and yet ... don’t you find it strange?... it is without fear and quite calmly that I am going to commit a terrible murder on you, with terrible refinements ... tell me, tell me ... do you understand that?”— Ed.


must express, as the result of their thoughts, as the conscious motive of their actions, his own intention as a writer, which causes him to make them behave in a certain way and no other. They must continually say: I have reformed myself in this, in that, etc. Since their life has no real content, their words must give vigorous tones to insignificant features like the protection of Fleur de Marie.

Having reported the salutary effect of his Bouqueval dream, the maitre d’ecole must explain why Eugene Sue had him locked up in a cellar. He must find the novelist’s procedure reasonable. He must say to Ghouette: by locking me up in a cellar, causing me to be gnawed by rats and to suffer hunger and thirst, you have completed my reform. Solitude has purified me.

The beastly roar, the wild fury, the terrible lust for ven¬ geance with which the maitre d’icole welcomes Chouette are in complete contradiction to this moralising talk. They betray what kind of thoughts occupied him in his dungeon.

The maitre d’ecole himself seems to realise this, but being a Critical moralist, he will know how to reconcile the contra¬ dictions.

He declares that the “infinite joy” of having Chouette in his power is precisely a sign of his reform, for his lust for ven¬ geance is not a natural one but a moral one. He wants to avenge, not himself, but the common victims of Chouette and him¬ self. If he murders her, he does not commit murder, he fulfils a duty. He does not avenge himself on her, he punishes his accomplice like an impartial judge. He shudders at his past murders and, nevertheless, marvelling at his own casuistry, he asks Chouette: “Don’t you find it strange? Without fear and quite calmly I am going to kill you.” On moral grounds that he does not reveal, he gloats at the same time over the picture of the murder that he is going to commit, as being a meurtre affreux, a meurtre avec des raffinements affreux *

It is in accord with the character of the maitre d’ecole that he should murder Chouette, especially after the cruelty with which

a Terrible murder . .. murder with terrible refinements.— Ed.



she treated him. But that he should commit murder on moral grounds, that he should give a moral interpretation to his savage pleasure in the meurtre affreux and the raffinements affreux, that he should show his remorse for the past murders precisely by committing a fresh one, that from a simple murderer he should become a murderer in a double sense, a moral murderer — all this is the glorious result of Rudolph’s Critical cure.

Chouette tries to get away from the maitre d’ecole. He notices it and holds her fast.

“Tiens-toi done, la chouette, il faut que je finisse de t’expliquer com¬ ment peu a peu j’en suis venu a me repentir . . . cette revelation te sera odieuse . . . et elle te prouvera aussi combien je dois etre impitoyable dans le vengeance, que je veux exercer sur toi au nom de nos victi- mes. ... II faut que je me hate ... la joie de te tenir la me fait boudir le sang ... j’aurai le temps de te rendre les approches de la mort effroy- ables en te forgant de m’entendre.. . Je suis aveugle ... et ma pensee prend une forme, un corps pour me representer incessamment d’une ma- niere visible, presque palpable ... les traits de mes victimes ... les idees s’imagent presque materiellement dans le cerveau. Quand au re¬ pentir se joint une expiation d’une effrayante severite . .. une expiation qui change notre vie en une longue insomnie remplie d’hallucinations vengeresses ou de reflexions desesperees . . . peut-etre alors le pardon des hommes succede au remords et a Pexpiation .” 3

The maitre d’ecole continues with his hypocrisy which every minute betrays itself as such. Chouette must hear how he came by degrees to repentance. This revelation will be hateful to her,

a “Keep still, Chouette, I must finish explaining to you how I gradually came to repentance. . . . This revelation will be hateful to you . . . and it will also show you how pitiless I must be in the vengeance I want to wreak on you in the name of our victims. ... I must hurry.... The joy of having you here in my hands makes the blood pound in my veins.... I shall have time to make the approach of your death ter¬ rifying to you by forcing you to listen to me. ... I am blind . . . and my thoughts take a shape, a body, such that they incessantly present to me visibly, almost palpably ... the features of my victims.... The ideas are reflected almost materially in my brain. When repentance is linked with an atonement of terrifying severity, an atonement that changes our life into a long sleeplessness filled with hallucinations of revenge or desperate reflections . . . then, perhaps, the pardon of men follows remorse and atonement.”— Ed.





for it will prove that it is his duty to take a pitiless revenge on her, not in his own name, but in the name of their common victims. Suddenly the maitre d’ecole interrupts his didactic lec¬ ture. He must, he says, “hurry” with his lecture, for the pleasure of having her in his hands makes the blood pound in his veins; that is a moral reason for cutting the lecture short! Then he calms his blood again. The long time that he takes in preaching her a moral sermon is not wasted for his revenge. It will “make the approach of death terrifying” for her. That is a different moral reason, one for protracting his sermon! And having such moral reasons he can safely resume his moral text where he left off.

The maitre d’ecole describes correctly the condition to which isolation from the outer world reduces a man. For one to whom the sensuously perceptible world becomes a mere idea, for him mere ideas are transformed into sensuously perceptible beings. The figments of his brain assume corporeal form. A world of tangible, palpable ghosts is begotten within his mind. That is the secret of all pious visions and at the same time it is the general form of insanity. When the maitre d’ecole repeats Ru¬ dolph’s words about the “power of repentance and atonement linked with terrible torments”, he does so in a state of semi-mad¬ ness, thus proving in fact the connection between Christian con¬ sciousness of sin and insanity. Similarly, when the maitre d’ecole considers the transformation of life into a night of dream filled with ghosts as the real result of repentance and atonement, he is expressing the true mystery of pure Criticism and of Christian reform, which consists in changing man into a ghost and his life into a life of dream.

At this point Eugene Sue realises how the salutary thoughts which he makes the blind robber prate after Rudolph will be made ridiculous by the robber’s treatment of Chouette. That is why he makes the maitre d’ecole say:

“La salutaire influence de ces pensees est telle que ma fureur s’a- paise.” a

a “The salutary influence of these thoughts is such that my rage is appeased.”— Ed.


So the maitre d’ecole now admits that his moral wrath was nothing but profane rage.

“Le courage ... la force ... la volonte me manquent pour te tuer ... non, ce n’est pas a moi de verser ton sang ... ce serait ... un meurtre” (he calls things by their names) ... “meurtre excusable peut-etre . .. mais ce serait toujours un meurtre.” 2

Chouette wounds the maitre d’ecole with a dagger just in time. Eugene Sue can now let him kill her without any further moral casuistry.

“II poussa un cri de douleur ... les ardeurs feroces de sa vengeance, de ses rages, ses instincts sanguinaires, brusquement reveilles et exasperes par cette attaque, firent une explosion soudaine, terrible, oil s’abima sa raison deja fortement ebranlee ... Ah vipere!... J’ai senti ta dent ... tu seras comme moi sans yeux.”b

And he scratches her eyes out.

When the nature of the maitre d’ecole, which has been only hypocritically, sophistically disguised, only ascetically repressed by Rudolph’s cure, breaks out, the outburst is all the more vio¬ lent and terrifying. We must be grateful to Eugene Sue for his admission that the reason of the maitre d’ecole was badly shaken by all the events which Rudolph has prepared.

“The last spark of his reason was extinguished in that cry of terror, in that cry of a damned soul” (he sees the ghosts of his murdered vic¬ tims) “... the maitre d’icole rages and roars like a frenzied beast. ... He tortures Chouette to death.”

Herr Szeliga mutters under his breath:

“With the maitre d’ecole there cannot be such a swift” (!) “and fortunate” (!) “ transformation ” (!) “as with Schurimann.”

2 “I lack courage . . . strength . . . will to kill you. . . . No, it is not for me to shed your blood ... it would be . . . murder. . . . Excusable murder, perhaps, but murder all the same.”— Ed.

<1 “He uttered a cry of pain ... his fierce passion of vengeance, of rage and of bloodthirsty instinct, suddenly aroused and exacerbated by this attack, had a sudden and terrible outburst in which his already badly shaken reason was shattered.... Viper! I have felt your fang ... you will be sightless as I am.”— Ed.


Just as Rudolph sends Fleur de Marie into a convent, he makes the maitre d’ecole an inmate of the Bicetre asylum. He has paralysed his spiritual as well as his physical strength. And rightly. For the maitre d’ecole sinned with his spiritual as well as his physical strength, and according to Rudolph’s penal theory the sinning forces must be annihilated.

But Eugene Sue has not yet consummated the “repentance and atonement linked with a terrible revenge”. The maitre d’ecole recovers his reason, but fearing to be delivered to justice he remains in Bicetre and pretends to be mad. Monsieur Sue forgets that “every word he said was to be a prayer", whereas finally it is much more like the inarticulate howling and raving of a madman. Or does Monsieur Sue perhaps ironically put these manifestations of life on the same level as praying?

The idea underlying the punishment that Rudolph carried out in blinding the maitre d’ecole —the isolation of the man and his soul from the outer world, the combination of legal punish¬ ment with theological torture—finds its ultimate expression in solitary confinement. That is why Monsieur Sue glorifies this system.

“How many centuries had to pass before it was realised that there is only one, means of overcoming the rapidly spreading leprosy” (i.e., the corruption of morals in prisons) “which is threatening the body of soci¬ ety: isolation.”

Monsieur Sue shares the opinion of the worthy people who explain the spread of crime by the organisation of prisons. To remove the criminal from bad society he is left to his own society.

Eugene Sue says:

“I should consider myself lucky if my weak voice could be heard among all those which so rightly and so insistently demand the complete and absolute application of solitary confinement.”

Monsieur Sue’s wish has been only partially fulfilled. In the debates on solitary confinement in the Chamber of Dep¬ uties this year, even the official supporters of that system had to acknowledge that it leads sooner or later to insanity in the


criminal. All sentences of imprisonment for more than ten years had therefore to be converted into deportation.

Had Messieurs Tocqueville and Beaumont studied Eugene Sue’s novel thoroughly they would certainly have secured com¬ plete and absolute application of solitary confinement.

If Eugene Sue deprives criminals with a sane mind of society in order to make them insane, he gives insane persons society to make them sane.

“L’experience prouve que pour les alienes l’isolement est aussi fu- neste qu’il est salutaire pour les detenus criminels.”a

If Monsieur Sue and his Critical hero Rudolph have not made law poorer by any mystery, whether through the Catholic penal theory or the Methodist solitary confinement, they have, on the other hand, enriched medicine with new mysteries, and after all, it is just as much of a service to discover new mysteries as to disclose old ones. In its report on the blinding of the maitre d’ecole, Critical Criticism fully agrees with Monsieur Sue:

“When he is told he is deprived of the light of his eyes he does not even believe it.”

The maitre d’ecole could not believe in the loss of_ his sight because in reality he could still see. Monsieur Sue is describing a new kind of cataract and is reporting a real mystery for mass- type, un-Critical ophthalmology.

The pupil is white after the operation, so it is a case of cata¬ ract of the crystalline lens. So far, this could, of course, be caused by injury to the envelope of the lens without causing much pain, though not entirely without pain. But as doctors achieve this result only by natural, not by Critical means, the only resort was to wait until inflammation set in after the injury and the exudation dimmed the lens.

A still greater miracle and greater mystery befall the maitre d’ecole in the third chapter of the third book.

The man who has been blinded sees again.

» “Experience proves that isolation is as fatal for the insane as it is salutary for imprisoned criminals.”— Ed.


“La Chouette, le maitre d’icole et Tortillard virent le pretre et Fleur de Marie.”®

If we do not interpret this restoration of the maitre d’ecole’s ability to see as an author’s miracle after the method of the Kritik der Synoptiker, the maitre d’ecole must have had his cataract operated on again. Later he is blind again. So he used his eyes too soon and the irritation of the light caused inflammation which ended in paralysis of the retina and incurable amaurosis. It is another mystery for un-Critical ophthalmology that this process takes place here in a single second.

b) Reward and Punishment. Double Justice (with a Table)

The hero Rudolph reveals a new theory to keep society up¬ right by rewarding the good and punishing the wicked. Un¬ critically considered, this theory is nothing but the theory of society as it is today. How little lacking it is in rewards for the good and punishments for the wicked! Compared with this revealed mystery, how un-Critical is the mass-type Communist Owen, who sees in punishment and reward the consecration of differences in social rank and the complete expression of a ser¬ vile abasement.

It could be considered as a new revelation that Eugene Sue makes rewards derive from the judiciary—from a new appen¬ dix to the Penal Code—and not satisfied with one jurisdiction he invents a second. Unfortunately this revealed mystery, too, is the repetition of an old theory expounded in detail by Ben- tham in his work already mentioned . 15 On the other hand, we cannot deny Monsieur Eugene Sue the honour of having moti¬ vated and developed Bentham’s suggestion in an incomparably more Critical way than the latter. Whereas the mass-type En-

a “Chouette, the maitre d’icole and Tortillard saw the priest and

Fleur de Marie.”— Ed.

b Theorie des peines et des ricompenses. — Ed.


rible chastisements for the wicked. The people is notified of the

The people is notified of the ter- brilliant triumphs for the good.

Means of discovering the wicked-. Means of discovering the good:

Police spying, mouchards, to Espionnage de vertu, mouchards a

keep watch over the wicked. to keep watch over the virtuous.

Method of ascertaining whether Method of ascertaining whether

someone is wicked: Les assises someone is good: Assises de la

du crime, criminal assizes. The vertu, virtue assizes. The public

public ministry points out and in- ministry points out and proclaims

diets the crimes of the accused the noble deeds of the accused

for public vengeance. for public recognition.

Condition of the criminal after Condition of the virtuous after

sentence: Under surveillance de sentence: Under surveillance de

la haute policed Is fed in pri- la haute charite morales Is fed

son. The state defrays expenses. at home. The state defrays ex¬


Execution: The criminal stands Execution: Immediately opposite

on the scaffold. the scaffold of the criminal a

pedestal is erected on which the grand homme de biend stands.— A pillory of virtue.

Moved by the sight of this picture, Monsieur Sue exclaims: "Helas, e’est une utopie, mais supposez qu’une societe soit organisee de telle sorte!”'

That would be the Critical organisation of society. We must defend this organisation against Eugene Sue’s reproach that up to now it has remained a utopia. Sue has again forgotten the “Virtue Prize ” which is awarded every year in Paris and which he himself mentions. This prize is even organised in duplicate: the material prix Montyon for noble acts of men and women, and the prix rosiere for girls of highest morality. There is even the wreath of roses demanded by Eugene Sue.

  • Spying out virtue, informers.— Ed.

•> Supervision of the supreme police.— Ed. c Supervision of supreme moral charity.— Ed. d Man of great virtue.— Ed.

e “Alas! It is a utopia! But suppose a society were organised in this way!”— Ed.


As far as espionnage de vertu and the surveillance de haute charite morale are concerned, they were organised long ago by the Jesuits. Moreover, the Journal des Debats, Siecle, Petites afftches de Paris, etc., point out and proclaim the virtues, noble acts and merits of all the Paris stockjobbers 3 daily and at cost price, not counting the pointing out and proclamation of po¬ litical noble acts, for which each party has its own organ.

Old Voss remarked long ago that Homer is better than his gods. The “revealed mystery of all mysteries”, Rudolph, can therefore be made responsible for Eugene Sue’s ideas.

In addition, Herr Szeliga reports:

“Besides, the passages in which Eugene Sue interrupts the narration and introduces or concludes episodes are very numerous, and all are Critical."

c) Abolition of Degeneracy within Civilisation and of Rightlessness in the State

The juridical preventive means for the abolition of crime and hence of degeneracy within civilisation consists in the

“protective guardianship assumed by the state over the children of exe¬ cuted criminals or of those condemned to a life sentence”.

Sue wants to organise the subdivision of crime in a more liberal way. No family should any longer have a hereditary privilege to crime; free competition in crime should triumph over monopoly.

Monsieur Sue abolishes “rightlessness in the state” by reform¬ ing the section of the Code penal on abus de confiance, h and especially by the institution of paid lawyers for the poor. He finds that in Piedmont, Holland, etc., where there are lawyers for the poor, righdessness in the state has been abolished. The only failing of French legislation is that it does not provide for payment of lawyers for the poor, has no lawyers restricted to

a This word is in English in the original.— Ed. b Breach of trust.— Ed.


serving the poor, and makes the legal limits of poverty too nar¬ row. As if rightlessness did not begin in the very lawsuit itself, and as if it had not already been known for a long time in France that the law gives nothing, but only sanctions what exists. The already trivial differentiation between droit and fait seems still to be a mystere de Paris for the Critical novelist.

If we add to the Critical revelation of the mysteries of law the great reforms which Eugene Sue wants to institute in res¬ pect of huissiers , a we shall understand the Paris journal Satan. There we see the residents of a district in the city write to the “grand reformateur a tant la ligne” b that there is no gaslight yet in their streets. Monsieur Sue replies that he will deal with this shortcoming in the sixth volume of his Juif errant . c Another part of the city complains of the shortcomings of preliminary education. He promises a preliminary education reform for that district of the city in the tenth volume of Juif errant.

4. The Revealed Mystery of the “Standpoint”

"Rudolph does not remain at his lofty” (1) "standpoint ... he does not shirk the trouble of adopting by free choice the standpoints on the right and on the left, above and below” ( Szeliga ).

One of the principal mysteries of Critical Criticism is the “standpoint ” and judgment from the standpoint of the stand¬ point. For Criticism every man, like every product of the spirit, is turned into a standpoint.

Nothing is easier than to see through the mystery of the stand¬ point when one has seen through the general mystery of Critical Criticism, that of warming up old speculative trash.

First of all, let Criticism itself expound its theory of the “standpoint” in the words of its patriarch, Herr Bruno Bauer.

a Bailiffs.— Ed.

b “Great reformer at so much a line.”— Ed. c The Wandering Jew. — Ed.


Science ... never deals with a given single individual or a given definite standpoint. ... It will not fail, of course, to do away with the limitations of a standpoint if it is worth the trouble and if these limi¬ tations have really general human significance; but it conceives them as pure category and determinateness of self-consciousness and accord¬ ingly speaks only for those who have the courage to rise to the generality of self-consciousness, i.e., who do not wish with all their strength to remain within those limitations” ( Anekdota, t. II, p. 127). a

The mystery of this courage of Bauer’s is Hegel’s Phanome- nologie. Because Hegel here substitutes self-consciousness for man, the most varied manifestations of human reality appear only as definite forms, as determinateness of self-consciousness. But mere determinateness of self-consciousness is a “ pure cate¬ gory ”, a mere “thought”, which I can consequently also trans¬ cend in “pure” thought and overcome through pure thought. In Hegel’s Phdnomenologie the material, sensuously perceptible, objective foundations of the various estranged forms of human self-consciousness are allowed to remain. The whole destructive work results in the most conservative philosophy because it thinks it has overcome the objective world, the sensuously per¬ ceptible real world, by transforming it into a “Thing of Thought”, a mere determinateness of self-consciousness, and can therefore also dissolve its opponent, which has become ethereal, in the “ ether of pure thought”. The Phdnomenologie is there¬ fore quite consistent in that it ends by replacing human reality by “ absolute knowledge ”— knowledge, because this is the only mode of existence of self-consciousness, and because self-con¬ sciousness is considered the only mode of existence of man— absolute knowledge for the very reason that self-consciousness knows only itself and is no longer disturbed by any objective world. Hegel makes man the man of self-consciousness instead of making self-consciousness the self-consciousness of man, of real man, i.e., of man living also in a real, objective world and determined by that world. He stands the world on its head and can therefore in his head also dissolve all limitations, which nevertheless remain in existence for bad sensuousness, for real


B. Bauer, Leiden und Freuden des theologischen Bewusstseins .—


man. Moreover, everything that betrays the limitations of gener¬ al self-consciousness —all sensuousness, reality, individuality of men and of their world—is necessarily held by him to be a limit. The whole of the Phanomenologie is intended to prove that self- consciousness is the only reality and all reality. (

Herr Bauer has recently re-christened absolute knowledge Criticism, and given the more profane sounding name stand¬ point to the determinateness of self-consciousness. In the Anek- dota both names are still to be found side by side, and stand¬ point is still explained as the determinateness of self-conscious¬ ness.

Since the “religious world as such ” exists only as the world of self-consciousness, the Critical Critic—the theologian ex pro- fesso —cannot by any means entertain the thought that there is a world in which consciousness and being are distinct; a world which continues to exist when I merely abolish its existence in thought, its existence as a category or as a standpoint; i.e., when I modify my own subjective consciousness without altering the objective reality in a really objective way, that is to say, with¬ out altering my own objective reality and that of other men. Hence the speculative mystical identity of being and thinking is repeated in Criticism as the equally mystical identity of prac¬ tice and theory. That is why Criticism is so vexed with practice which wants to be something distinct from theory, and with theory which wants to be something other than the dissolution of a definite category in the “boundless generality of self-con¬ sciousness”. Its own theory is confined to stating that everything determinate is an opposite of the boundless generality of self- consciousness and is, therefore, of no significance; for example, the state, private property, etc. It must be shown, on the con¬ trary, how the state, private property, etc., turn human beings into abstractions, or are products of abstract man, instead of being the reality of individual, concrete human beings.

Finally, it goes without saying that whereas Hegel’s menologie, in spite of its speculative original sin, gives in many instances the elements of a true description of human relations, Herr Bruno and Co., on the other hand, provide only an empty


caricature, a caricature which is satisfied with deriving any determinateness out of a product of the spirit or even out of real relations and movements, changing this determinateness into a determinateness of thought, into a category , and making out that this category is the standpoint of the product, of the relation and the movement, in order then to be able to look down on this determinateness triumphantly with old-man’s wis¬ dom from the standpoint of abstraction, of the general cate¬ gory and of general self-consciousness.

Just as in Rudolph’s opinion all human beings maintain the standpoint of good or bad and are judged by these two immut¬ able conceptions, so for Herr Bauer and Go. all human beings adopt the standpoint of Criticism or that of the Mass. But both turn real human beings into abstract standpoints.

5. Revelation of the Mystery of the Utilisation of Human Impulses, or Clemence d’Harville

So far Rudolph has been unable to do more than reward the good and punish the wicked in his own way. We shall now see an example of how he makes the passions useful and “gives the good natural disposition of Clemence d’Harville an ap¬ propriate development”.

“Rudolph,” says Herr Szeliga, “draws her attention to the entertain¬ ing aspect of charity, a thought which testifies to a knowledge of human beings that can only arise in the soul of Rudolph after it has been through trial.”

The expressions which Rudolph uses in his conversation with Clemence:

“faire attrayant”, “utiliser le gout naturel”, “regler Vinlrigue", “utiliser les penchants a la dissimulation et a la ruse”, “changer en qualites gene- reuses des instincts imperieux, inexorables”*, etc.,

a “To make attractive”, “to utilise natural taste", “to regulate in¬ trigue", “to utilise the propensity to dissimulation and craft,” “to change imperious, inexorable instincts into noble qualities”.— Ed.


these expressions just as much as the impulses themselves, which are mostly attributed here to woman’s nature, betray the secret source of Rudolph’s wisdom— Fourier. He has come across some popular presentation of Fourier’s theory.

The application is again just as much Rudolph’s Critical own as is the exposition of Bentham’s theory given above.

It is not in charity as such that the young marquise is to find the satisfaction of her essential human nature, a human content and purpose of her activity, and hence entertainment. Charity offers rather only the external occasion, only the pretext, only the material, for a kind of entertainment that could just as well use any other material as its content. Misery is exploited con¬ sciously to procure the charitable person “the piquancy of a novel, the satisfaction of curiosity, adventure, disguise, enjoy¬ ment of his or her own excellence, violent nervous excitement”, and the like.

Rudolph has thereby unconsciously expressed the mystery which was revealed long ago, that human misery itself, the in¬ finite abjectness which is obliged to receive alms, must serve the aristocracy of money and education as a plaything to satisfy its self-love, tickle its arrogance and amuse it.

The numerous charitable associations in Germany, the numerous charitable societies in France and the great number of charitable quixotic societies in England, the concerts, balls, plays, meals for the poor, and even the public subscriptions for victims of accidents, have no other object. It seems then that along these lines charity, too, has long been organised as enter¬ tainment.

The sudden, unmotivated transformation of the marquise at the mere word “ amusant ” makes us doubt the durability of her cure; or rather this transformation is sudden and unmotivated only in appearance and is caused only in appearance by the description of charite as an amusement. The marquise loves Rudolph and Rudolph wants to disguise himself along with her, to intrigue and to indulge in charitable adventures. Later, when the marquise pays a charity visit to the prison of Saint- Lazare, her jealousy of Fleur de Marie becomes apparent and



out of charity towards her jealousy she conceals from Rudolph the fact of Marie’s detention. At the best, Rudolph has succeed¬ ed in teaching an unhappy woman to play a silly comedy with unhappy beings. The mystery of the philanthropy he has hatched is betrayed by the Paris fop who invites his partner to supper after the dance in the following words:

“Ah, Madame! ce n’est pas assez d’avoir danse au benefice des ces pauvres Polonais ... soyons philanthropes jusqu’au bout ... allons sou- per maintenant au profit des pauvresV ’»

6. Revelation of the Mystery of the Emancipation of Women, or Louise Morel

On the occasion of the arrest of Louise Morel, Rudolph indulges in reflections which he sums up as follows:

“The master often ruins the maid, either by fear, surprise or other use of the opportunities provided by the nature of the servants’ condi¬ tion. He reduces her to misery, shame and crime. The law is not con¬ cerned with this.... The criminal who has in fact driven a girl to infanticide is not punished.”

Rudolph’s reflections do not go so far as to make the ser¬ vants’ condition the object of his most gracious Criticism. Being a petty ruler, he is a great patroniser of servants’ conditions. Still less does he go so far as to understand that the general position of women in modern society is inhuman. Faithful in all respects to his previous theory, he deplores only that there is no law which punishes a seducer and links repentance and atonement with terrible chastisement.

Rudolph has only to take a look at the existing legislation in other countries. English laws fulfil all his wishes. In their delicacy, which Blackstone so highly praises, they go so far as to declare it a felony to seduce even a prostitute.

Herr Szeliga exclaims with a flourish:

a “Ah, Madame, it is not enough to have danced for the benefit of these poor Poles.... Let us be philanthropic to the end.... Let us have supper now for the benefit of the poor !”— Ed.


“So” (!)—“ thinks” (!)—“Rudolph ” (!)—“and now compare these thoughts with your fantasies about the emancipation of woman. The act of this emancipation can be almost physically grasped from them, but you are much too practical to start with, and that is why your attempts have failed so often.”

In any case we must thank Herr Szeliga for revealing the mystery that an act can be almost physically grasped from thoughts. As for his ridiculous comparison of Rudolph with men who taught the emancipation of woman, compare Rudolph’s thoughts with the following “fantasies” of Fourier:

“Adultery, seduction, are a credit to the seducer, are good tone.... But, poor girl! Infanticide! What a crime! If she prizes her honour she must efface all traces of dishonour. But if she sacrifices her child to the prejudices of the world her ignominy is all the greater and she is a vic¬ tim of the prejudices of the law.... That is the vicious circle which every civilised mechanism describes.”

“Is not the young daughter a ware held up for sale to the first bidder who wishes to obtain exclusive ownership of her?. .. De meme qu’en grammaire deux negations valent une affirmation, l’on peut dire qu’en negoce conjugal deux prostitutions valent une vertu

“The change in a historical epoch can always be determined by women’s progress towards freedom, because here, in the relation of woman to man, of the weak to the strong, the victory of human nature over brutality is most evident. The degree of emancipation of woman is the natural measure of general emancipation.”

“The humiliation of the female sex is an essential feature of civi¬ lisation as well as of barbarism. The only difference is that the civilised system raises every vice that barbarism practises in a simple form to a compound, equivocal, ambiguous, hypocritical mode of existence.... No one is punished more severely for keeping woman in slavery than man himself” (Fourier).**

It is superfluous to contrast Rudolph’s thoughts with Fou¬ rier’s masterly characterisation of marriage, or with the works of the materialist section of French communism . 69

The most pitiful off-scourings of socialist literature, a sam¬ ple of which is to be found in this novelist, reveal “mysteries” still unknown to Critical Criticism.

a “Just as in grammar two negations are the equivalent of an affir¬ mation, we can say that in the marriage trade two prostitutions are the equivalent of virtue.” — Ed.



7. Revelation of Political Economic Mysteries

a) Theoretical Revelation of Political Economic Mysteries

First revelation: Wealth often leads to waste, waste to ruin.

Second revelation: The above-mentioned effects of wealth arise from a lack of instruction in rich youth.

Third revelation: Inheritance and private property are and must be inviolable and sacred.

Fourth revelation: The rich man is morally responsible to the workers for the way he uses his fortune. A large fortune is a hereditary deposit—a feudal tenement —entrusted to clever, firm, skilful and magnanimous hands, which are at the same time charged with making it fruitful and using it in such a way that everything which has the good luck to be within the range of the dazzling and wholesome radiation of that large fortune is fructified, vitalised and improved.

Fifth revelation: The state must give inexperienced rich youth the rudiments of individual economy. It must give a moral character to riches.

Sixth revelation: Finally, the state must tackle the vast ques¬ tion of organisation of labour. It must give the wholesome example of the association of capitals and labour, of an asso¬ ciation which is honest, intelligent and fair, which ensures the well-being of the worker without prejudice to the fortune of the rich, which establishes links of sympathy and gratitude be¬ tween these two classes and thus ensures tranquillity in the state for ever.

Since the state at present does not yet accept this theory, Rudolph himself gives some practical examples. They reveal the mystery that the most generally known economic relations are still “mysteries” for Monsieur Sue, Monsieur Rudolph and Critical Criticism.

b) “The Bank for the Poor”

Rudolph institutes a Bank for the Poor. The statute of this Critical Bank for the Poor is as follows:


It must give support during periods of unemployment to honest workers with families. It must replace alms and pawn¬ shops. It has at its disposal an annual income of 12,000 francs and distributes interest-free assistance loans of 20 to 40 francs. At first it extends its activity only to the seventh arrondisse- ment of Paris, where most of the workers live. Working men and women applying for relief must have a certificate from their last employer vouching for their good behaviour and giving the cause and date of the interruption of work. These loans are to be paid off in monthly instalments of one-sixth or one-twelfth of the sum at the choice of the borrower, counting from the day on which he finds employment again. The loan is guaranteed by the borrower’s word of honour. Moreover, the latter’s parole juree a must be guaranteed by two other workers. As the Critical purpose of the Bank for the Poor is to remedy one of the most grievous misfortunes in the life of the worker— interruption in employment —assistance would be given only to unemployed manual workers. Monsieur Germain, the manager of this insti¬ tution, draws a yearly salary of 10,000 francs.

Let us now cast a mass-type glance at the practice of Crit¬ ical political economy. The annual income is 12,000 francs. The amount loaned per person is from 20 to 40 francs, hence an average of 30 francs. The number of workers in the seventh arrondissement who are officially recognised as “needy” is at least 4,000. Hence, in a year only 400, or one-tenth, of the neediest workers in the seventh arrondissement can receive relief. If we estimate the average length of unemployment in Paris at 4 months, i. e., 16 weeks, we shall be considerably below the actual figure. Thirty francs divided over 16 weeks gives somewhat less than 37 sous and 3 centimes a week, not even 27 centimes a day. The daily expense on one prisoner in France is on the average a little over 47 centimes, somewhat over 30 centimes being spent on food alone. But the worker to whom Monsieur Rudolph pays relief has a family. Let us take the average family as consisting of man, wife and only two

Sworn word.— Ed.


children; that means that 27 centimes must be divided among four persons. From this we must deduct rent—a minimum of 15 centimes a day—so that 12 centimes remain. The average amount of bread eaten by a single prisoner costs about 14 cen¬ times. Therefore, even disregarding all other needs, the worker and his family will not be able to buy even a quarter of the bread they need with the help obtained from the Critical Bank for the Poor. They will certainly starve if they do not resort to the means that the bank is intended to obviate—the pawnshop, begging, thieving and prostitution.

The manager of the Bank for the Poor, on the other hand, is all the more brilliantly provided for by the man of ruthless Criticism. The income he administers is 12,000 francs, his salary is 10,000. The management therefore costs 85 per cent of the total, nearly three times as much as the mass-type admin¬ istration of poor relief in Paris, which costs about 17 per cent of the total.

Let us suppose for a moment that the assistance that the Bank for the Poor provides is real, not just illusory. In that case the institution of the revealed mystery of all mysteries rests on the illusion that only a different distribution of wages is required to enable the workers to live through the year.

Speaking in the prosaic sense, the income of 7,500,000 French workers averages no more than 91 francs per head, that of another 7,500,000 is only 120 francs per head; hence for at least 15,000,000 it is less than is absolutely necessary for life.

The idea of the Critical Bank for the Poor, if it is rationally conceived, amounts to this: during the time the worker is em¬ ployed as much will be deducted from his wages as he needs for his living during unemployment. It comes to the same thing whether I advance him a certain sum during his unemployment and he gives it back when he has employment, or he gives up a certain sum when he has employment and I give it back to him when he is unemployed. In either case he gives me when he is working what he gets from me when he is unemployed.

Thus, the “pure” Bank for the Poor differs from mass-type savings-banks only in two very original, very Critical qualities.


The first is that the Bank for the Poor lends money “a fonds perdus ” a on the senseless assumption that the worker could pay back if he wanted to and that he would always want to pay back if he could. The second is that it pays no interest on the sum put aside by the worker. As this sum is given the form of an advance, the Bank for the Poor thinks it is doing the worker a favour by not charging him any interest.

The difference between the Critical Bank for the Poor and the mass-type savings-banks is therefore that the worker loses his interest and the Bank its capital.

c) Model Farm at Bonqneval

Rudolph founds a model farm at Bouqueval. The choice of the place is all the more fortunate as it preserves memories of feudal times, namely of a chateau seigneurial. h

Each of the six men employed on this farm is paid 150 ecus, or 450 francs a year, while the women get 60 ecus, or 180 francs. Moreover they get board and lodging free. The ordinary daily fare of the people at Bouqueval consists of a “formidable” plate of ham, an equally formidable plate of mut¬ ton and, finally, a no less massive piece of veal supplemented by two kinds of winter salad, two large cheeses, potatoes, cider, etc. Each of the six men does twice the work of the ordinary French agricultural labourer.

As the total annual income produced by France, if divided equally, would come to no more than 93 francs per person, and as the total number of inhabitants employed directly in agricul¬ ture is two-thirds of the population of France, it will be seen what a revolution the general imitation of the German caliph’s model farm would cause not only in the distribution, but also in the production of the national wealth.

According to what has been said, Rudolph achieved this enormous increase in production solely by making each labourer work twice as much and eat six times as much as before.

a Not to be repaid.— Ed. b A feudal manor.— Ed.


Since the French peasant is very industrious, labourers who work twice as much must be superhuman athletes, as the “for¬ midable” meat dishes also seem to indicate. Hence we may assume that each of the six men eats at least a pound of meat a day.

If all the meat produced in France were distributed equally there would not be even a quarter of a pound per person per day. It is therefore obvious what a revolution Rudolph’s exam¬ ple would cause in this respect too. The agricultural population alone would consume more meat than is produced in France, so that as a result of this Critical reform France would be left without any livestock.

The fifth part of the gross product which Rudolph, accord¬ ing to the report of the manager of Bouqueval, Father Chate- lain, allows the labourers, in addition to the high wage and sumptuous board, is nothing else than his rent. It is assumed that, on the average, after deduction of all production costs and profit on the working capital, one-fifth of the gross product remains for the French landowner, that is to say, the ratio of the rent to the gross product is one to five. Although it is beyond doubt that Rudolph decreases the profit on his working capital beyond all proportion by increasing the expenditure for the labourers beyond all proportion—according to Chaptal ( De I’industrie frangaise, t. I, p. 239) the average yearly income of the French agricultural labourer is 120 francs—although Rudolph gives his whole rent away to the labourers, Father Chatelain nevertheless reports that the prince thereby increases his revenue and thus inspires un-Critical landowners to farm in the same way.

The Bouqueval model farm is nothing but a fantastic illusion; its hidden fund is not the natural land of the Bou¬ queval estate, it is a magic purse of Fortunatus that Rudolph has!

In this connection Critical Criticism exultantly declares:

“You can see from the whole plan at a first glance that it is not a utopia."


Only Critical Criticism can see at a first glance at a Fortu- natus’ purse that it is not a utopia. The first glance of Criticism is—the glance of “the evil eye”!

8. Rudolph,

“the Revealed Mystery of All Mysteries”

The miraculous means by which Rudolph accomplishes all his redemptions and miracle cures is not his fine words but his ready money. That is what the moralists are like, says Fourier. You must be a millionaire to be able to imitate their heroes.

Morality is “impuissance mise en action”.* Every time it fights a vice it is defeated. And Rudolph does not even rise to the standpoint of independent morality, which is based at least on the consciousness of human dignity. His morality, on the contrary, is based on the consciousness of human weakness. His is the theological morality. We have investi¬ gated in detail the heroic feats that he accomplished with his fixed, Christian ideas, by which he measures the world, with his “ charite ”, “ denouement”, “ abnegation”, “repentir”, “bons” and “michants”, “recompense” and “punition”, “chati- ments terribles”, “isolement ”, “salut de l’ame”. b etc. We have proved that they are mere Eulenspiegel tricks. All that we still have to deal with here is the personal character of Rudolph, the “revealed mystery of all mysteries” or the revealed mystery of “pure Criticism”.

The antithesis of “good” and “evil” confronts the Critical Hercules when he is still a youth in two personifications, Murph and Polidori, both of them Rudolph’s teachers. The former educates him in good and is “the Good One”. The latter educates him in evil and is “the Evil One”. So that

a “Impotence in action.” Ch. Fourier, ThSorie des quatre mouve- ments et des destinies ginirales, Part II, Epilogue.— Ed.

I> “ Charity”, “ devotion ”, "self-deniaV’, “repentance”, the “good” and the “ wicked” people, "reward?' and “ punishment”, “terrible chasti¬ sements”, “isolation ”, “salvation of the sour’. — Ed.


this conception should by no means be inferior in triviality to similar conceptions in other novels, Murph, the personi¬ fication of “the good ”, cannot be “ savant ” or “particularly endowed intellectually”. But he is honest, simple, and lacon¬ ic, he feels himself great when he applies to evil such monosyl¬ labic words as “foul” or “ vile ”, and he has a horreur of anything which is base. To use Hegel’s expression, he honestly sets the melody of the good and the true in an equality of tones, i.e., on one note.

Polidori, on the contrary, is a prodigy of cleverness, knowl¬ edge and education, and at the same time of the “most dangerous immorality”, having in particular, what Eugene Sue, as a member of the young pious French bourgeoisie, could not forget— “le plus effrayant scepticisme” , a We can judge the spiritual energy and education of Eugene Sue and his hero by their panic fear of scepticism.

“Murph,” says Herr Szeliga, “is at the same time the perpetuated guilt of January 13 b and the perpetual redemption of that guilt by his incomparable love and self-sacrifice for the person of Rudolph.”

Just as Rudolph is the deus ex machina and the mediator of the world, so Murph, for his part, is the personal deus ex machina and mediator of Rudolph.

“Rudolph and the salvation of mankind, Rudolph and the realisation of man’s essential perfections, are for Murph an inseparable unity, a unity to which he dedicates himself not with the stupid dog-like devotion of the slave, but knowingly and independently.”

So Murph is an enlightened, knowing and independent slave. Like every prince’s valet, he sees in his master the salvation of mankind personified. Graun flatters Murph with the words: “intrepide garde du corps”. c Rudolph him¬ self calls him modele d’un valet A and truly he is a model servant. Eugene Sue tells us that Murph scrupulously ad¬ s' “The most frightful scepticism." — Ed.

k On this day, Rudolph, in a fit of anger, made an attempt on the life of his father, but repented and gave the word to do good.— Ed.

c “Fearless bodyguard.” — Ed.

d A model servant. — Ed.


dresses Rudolph as “Monseigneur” when alone with him. In the presence of others he calls him Monsieur with his lips to keep his incognito, but “Monseigneur” with his heart.

“Murph helps to raise the veil from the mysteries, but only for Ru¬ dolph’s sake. He helps in the work of destroying the power of mystery.”

The denseness of the veil which conceals the simplest con¬ ditions of the world from Murph can be seen from his con¬ versation with the envoy Graun. From the legal right of self-defence in case of emergency he concludes that Rudolph, as judge of the secret court, was entitled to blind the maitre d’ecole, although the latter was in chains and “defenceless”. His description of how Rudolph will tell of his “noble” actions before the assizes, will make a display of eloquent phrases, and will let his great heart pour forth, is worthy of a grammar-school boy who has just read Schiller’s Raiiber. The only mystery which Murph let the world solve is whether he blacked his face with coal-dust or black paint when he played the charbonnier . a

“The angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just” (Mat. 13:49). “Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil. .But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good” (Rom. 2:9-10).

Rudolph makes himself one of those angels. He goes forth into the world to sever the wicked from among the just, to punish the wicked and reward the good. The conception of good and evil has sunk so deep into his weak brain that he really believes in a corporeal Satan and wants to catch the devil alive, as at one time Professor Sack wanted to in Bonn . 70 On the other hand, he tries to copy on a small scale the opposite of the devil, God. He likes “de jouer un peu le role de la providence. ” b Just as in reality all differences become merged more and more in the difference between poor and rich, so all aristocratic differences become dissolved in the idea in the opposition between good and evil. This

a Coal-man.— Ed.

t> “To play the role of Providence a little.”— Ed.


distinction is the last form that the aristocrat gives to his prej¬ udices. Rudolph regards himself as a good man and thinks that the wicked exist to afford him the self-satisfaction of his own excellence. Let us consider this personification of “the good” a little more closely.

Herr Rudolph indulges in charity and extravagance like the Caliph of Baghdad in the Arabian Nights. He cannot pos¬ sibly 'lead that kind of life without sucking the blood out of his little principality in Germany to the last drop like a vam¬ pire. As Monsieur Sue tells us, he would have been one of the mediatised German princes ' 11 had he not been saved from in¬ voluntary abdication by the protection of a French marquis. This gives us an idea of the size of his territory. We can form a further idea of how Critically Rudolph appraises his own situation by the fact that he, a minor German Serenissi- mus, thinks it necessary to live semi-incognito in Paris in order not to attract attention. He specially takes with him one of his chancellors for the Critical purpose of the latter representing for him “ le cote theatral et pueril du pouvoir souverain ” a as though a minor German Serenissimus needed another representative of the theatrical and childish side of sovereign power besides himself and his mirror. Rudolph has succeeded in imposing on his suite the same Critical self- delusion. Thus his servant Murph and his envoy Graun do not notice that the Parisian homme d’affaires, b Monsieur Badinot, makes fun of them when he pretends to take their private instructions as matters of state and sarcastically chat¬ ters about

“rapports occultes qui peuvent exister entre Ies int^rets les plus divers et les destinis des empires”. c “Yes,” says Rudolph’s envoy, “he has the impudence to say to me sometimes: ‘How many complications unknown to the people there are in the government of a state! Who would think, Herr Baron, that the notes which I deliver to you doubtless have their influence on the course of European affairsV ”

  • “The theatrical and childish side of sovereign power.”— Ed.
  • > Household manager.— Ed.
  • “Occult relations that can exist between the most varying interests

and the destinies of empires.”— Ed.


The envoy and Murph do not find it impudent that influence on European affairs is ascribed to them, but that Badinot idea¬ lises his lowly occupation in such a way.

Let us first recall a scene from Rudolph’s domestic life. Rudolph tells Murph “he was having moments of pride and bliss”. Immediately afterwards he becomes furious because Murph will not answer a question of his. “]e vous ordonne de parler ,” a Murph will not let himself be ordered. Rudolph says: “ Je n’aime pas les reticences .” b He forgets himself so far as to be base enough to remind Murph that he pays him for all his services. He will not be calmed until Murph re¬ minds him of January 13. Murph’s servile nature reasserts itself after its momentary abeyance. He tears out his “hair”, which he luckily has not got, and is desperate at having been somewhat rude to his exalted master who calls him “a model servant”, “his good old faithful Murph”.

After these samples of evil in him, Rudolph repeats his fixed ideas on “good” and “evil” and reports the progress he is making in regard to the good. He calls alms and com¬ passion the chaste and pious consolers of his wounded soul. It would be horrible, impious, a sacrilege, to prostitute them to abject, unworthy beings. Of course alms and compassion are the consolers of his soul. That is why it would be a sac¬ rilege to desecrate them. It would be “to inspire doubt in God, and he who gives must make people believe in Him.” To give alms to one abject is unthinkable!

Rudolph considers every motion of his soul as infinitely important. That is why he constantly observes and appraises them. Thus the simpleton consoles himself as far as his out¬ burst against Murph is concerned by the fact that he was moved by Fleur de Marie. “I was moved to tears, and I am accused of being blase, hard and inflexible!” After thus proving his own goodness, he waxes furious over “evil”, over the wickedness of Marie’s unknown mother, and says with the greatest possible solemnity to Murph: ■

a “I order you to speak.”— Ed. b “I do not like reticences.”— Ed.


“Tu le sais—certaines vengeances me sont bien cheres, certaines souf- jrances bien precieuses”. 3

In speaking, he makes such diabolical grimaces that his faithful servant cries out in fear: “Helas, Monseigneur!” This great lord is like the members of Young England , 72 who also wish to reform the world, perform noble deeds, and are subject to similar hysterical fits.

The explanation of the adventures and situations in which Rudolph finds himself involved is to be found above all in Rudolph’s adventurous disposition. He loves “the piquancy of novels, distractions, adventures, disguise”; his “curiosity” is “insatiable”, he feels a “need for vigorous, stimulating sen¬ sations”, he is “eager for violent nervous excitement”.

This disposition of Rudolph is reinforced by his craze for playing the role of Providence and arranging the world ac¬ cording to his fixed ideas.

His attitude to other persons is determined either by an abstract fixed idea or by quite personal, fortuitous motives.

He frees the Negro doctor David and his beloved, for example, not because of the direct human sympathy which they inspire, not to free them but to play Providence to the slave-owner Willis and to punish him for not believing in God. In the same way the maitre d’ecole seems to him a god- sent opportunity for applying the penal theory that he in¬ vented so long ago. Murph’s conversation with the envoy Graun enables us from another aspect to see deeply into the purely personal motives that determine Rudolph’s noble acts.

The prince’s interest in Fleur de Marie is based, as Murph says, “apart from” the pity which the poor girl inspires, on the fact that the daughter whose loss caused him such bitter grief would now be of the same age. Rudolph’s sympathy for the Marquise d’Harville has, “apart from” his philanthropic idiosyncrasies, the personal ground that without the old Mar-

3 “You know—some vengeances are very dear to me, some sufferings very precious.”— Ed.


quise d’Harville and his friendship with the Emperor Alexander, Rudolph’s father would have been deleted from the line of Ger¬ man sovereigns.

His kindness towards Madame George and his interest in Germain, her son, have the same motive. Madame George belongs to the d’Harville family.

“C’est non moins a ses malheurs et a ses vertus qu’a cette parenti que la pauvre Madame George a du les incessantes bontes de son Al- tesse.” a

The apologist Murph tries to gloss over the ambiguity of Rudolph’s motives by such expressions as: “ surtout ”, “a part", “non moins que”. b

The whole of Rudolph’s character is finally summed up in the "pure" hypocrisy by which he manages to see and make others see the outbursts of his evil passions as out¬ bursts against the passions of the wicked, in a way similar to that in which Critical Criticism represents its own stupid¬ ities as the stupidities of the Mass, its spiteful rancour at the progress of the world outside itself as the rancour of the world outside itself at progress, and finally its egoism, which thinks it has absorbed all Spirit in itself, as the egoistic opposition of the Mass to the Spirit.

We shall prove Rudolph’s “pure” hypocrisy in his atti¬ tude to the maitre d’ecole, to Countess Sarah MacGregor and to the notary Jacques Ferrand.

In order to lure the maitre d’ecole into a trap and seize him, Rudolph persuades him to break into his apartment. The interest he has in this is a purely personal one, not a general human one. The fact is that the maitre d’ecole has a portfolio belonging to Countess MacGregor, and Rudolph is greatly inter¬ ested in gaining possession of it. Speaking of Rudolph’s tete-a- tete with the maitre d’ecole, the author says explicitly:

» “It is no less to her misfortunes and her virtues than to this rela¬ tionship that poor Madame George owes the ceaseless kindness of His Highness.”— Ed.

b “Above all”, “apart from” and "no less than”.— Ed.


“Rodolphe se trouvait dans une anxiete cruelle; s’il laissait echapper cette occasion de s’emparer du maitre d’ecole > il ne la retrouverait sans doute jamais; ce brigand emporterait les secrets que Rodolphe avait tant d’interet a savoir.”*

With the maitre d’ecole, Rudolph obtains possession of Count¬ ess MacGregor’s portfolio; he seizes the maitre d’ecole out of purely personal interest; he has him blinded out of personal pas¬ sion.

When Chourineur tells Rudolph of the struggle of the maitre d’ecole with Murph and gives as the reason for his resistance the fact that he knew what was in store for him, Rudolph re¬ plies: “He did not know,” and he says it “d’un air sombre , les traits contractes par cette expression presque feroce, dont nous avons parle.” b The thought of vengeance flashes across his mind, he anticipates the savage pleasure that the barbarous punishment of the maitre d’dcole will afford him.

On the entrance of the Negro doctor David, whom he in¬ tends to make the instrument of his revenge, Rudolph cries out:

“ 'Vengeance '.... Vengeance!’ s’ecria Rodolphe avec une fureur froide et concentrie .”e

A cold and concentrated fury is seething in him. Then he whispers his plan in the doctor’s ear, and when the latter recoils at it, he immediately finds a “pure” theoretical motive to substitute for personal vengeance. It is only a case, he says, of “applying an idea" that has often flashed across his noble mind, and he does not forget to add unctuously: “He will still have before him the boundless horizon of atone¬ ment.” He follows the example of the Spanish Inquisition which, when handing over to civil justice the victim con-

» “Rudolph was cruelly anxious; if he let slip this opportunity of seizing the maitre d’icole, he would probably never have another; the brigand would carry away the secrets that Rudolph was so keen to find out.”—fid.

b “With a sombre mien, his features contracted by the almost fero¬ cious expression of which we have spoken.”— Ed.

c “ ‘ Revenge ! ... Revenge!’ Rudolph cries out with cold and con¬ centrated fury.” — Ed.


demned to be burnt at the stake, added a hypocritical re¬ quest tor mercy tor the repentant sinner.

Of course, when the interrogation and sentencing of the maitre d’ecole is to take place, His Highness is seated in a most comfortable study in a long, deep black dressing-gown, his features impressively pale, and in order to copy the court of justice more faithfully, he is sitting at a long table on which are the exhibits of the case. He must now discard the expression of rage and revenge with which he told Chourineur and the doctor of his plan for blinding the maitre d’ecole. He must show himself “calm, sad and composed”, and display the extremely comic, solemn attitude of a self-styled world judge.

In order to leave no doubt as to the “pure” motive of the blinding, the silly Murpk admits to the envoy Graun:

“The cruel punishment of the maitre d’ecole was intended chiefly to give me my revenge against the assassin."

In a tete-a-tete with Murph, Rudolph says:

“Ma haine des mechants ... est devenue plus vivace, mon aversion pour Sarah augmente en raison sans doute du chagrin que me cause la mort de ma filie.” a

Rudolph tells us how much stronger his hatred of the wicked has become. Needless to say, his hatred is a Critical, pure, moral hatred—hatred of the wicked because they are wicked. That is why he regards this hatred as his own progress in the good.

At the same time, however, he betrays that this growth of moral hatred is nothing but a hypocritical justification to excuse the growth of his personal aversion for Sarah. The vague moral idea of his increasing hatred of the wicked is only a mask for the definite immoral fact of his increased aversion for Sarah. This aversion has a very natural and

a “My hatred of the wicked . . . has become stronger, my aversion for Sarah increases, doubtless because of the grief caused by the death of my daughter.”— Ed.



a very personal basis, his personal grief, which is also the meas¬ ure of his aversion. Sans doute /*

Still more repugnant is the hypocrisy to be seen in Rudolph’s meeting with the dying Countess MacGregor.

After the revelation of the mystery that Fleur de Marie is the daughter of Rudolph and the Countess, Rudolph goes up to her “Fair menagant, impitoyable" , b She begs for mercy.

“Pas de grace,” he replies, “malediction sur vous . . . vous ... mon mauvais genie et celui de ma race.” c

So it is his “race” that he wishes to avenge. He goes on to inform the Countess how, to atone for his attempted mur¬ der of his father, he has taken upon himself a world crusade for the reward of the good and the punishment of the wicked. He tortures the Countess, he abandons himself to his rage, but in his own eyes he is only carrying out the task which he took upon himself after January 13, of “ poursuivre le mal”. i

As he is leaving, Sarah cries out:

“ ‘Pitie! je meursl’ ‘Mourez done, maudite!’ dit Rodolphe effrayant de fureur.”e

The last words “ effrayant de fureur" betray the pure Critical and moral motives of his actions. It was the same rage that made him draw his sword against his father, his blessed father, as Herr Szeliga calls him. Instead of fighting this evil in himself he fights it, like a pure Critic, in others.

In the end, Rudolph himself discards his Catholic penal the¬ ory. He wanted to abolish capital punishment, to change punish¬ ment into penance, but only as long as the murderer murdered strangers and spared members of Rudolph’s family. He adopts the death penalty as soon as one of his kin is murdered; he needs

a Doubtless!— Ed.

b “Looking threatening and pitiless”.— Ed.

e “No mercy. A curse on you ... you ... my evil genius and the evil genius of my race.”— Ed.

d “Prosecuting evil.”— Ed.

« “ ‘Have pity! I am dying!’ ‘Die then, accursed one!’ replies Ru¬ dolph, terrible in his rage.”— Ed.


a double set of laws, one for his own person and one for ordinary persons.

He learns from Sarah that Jacques Ferrand was the cause of the death of Fleur de Marie. He says to himself:

“No, it is not enough!... What a burning desire for revenge!. . . What a thirst for blood!. . . What calm, deliberate rage!... Until l knew that one of the monster’s victims was my child I said to myself: this man’s death would be fruitless. . .. Life without money, life without satis¬ faction of his frenzied sensuality will be a long and double torture. . .. But it is my daughterl .... I shall kill this man!”

And he rushes out to kill him, but finds him in a state which makes murder superfluous.

The “good” Rudolph! Burning with desire for revenge, thirst¬ ing for blood, with calm, deliberate rage, with a hypocrisy which excuses every evil impulse with its casuistry, he has all the evil passions for which he gouges out the eyes of others. Only accidental strokes of luck, money and rank in society save this “good” man from the penitentiary.

“The power of Criticism”, to compensate for the otherwise complete nullity of this Don Quixote, makes him “bon locataire”, “bon voisin”, “bon ami”, “bon pere”, “bon bourgeois”, “bon citoyen”, “bon prince”, 3 and so on, according to Herr Szeliga’s gamut of eulogy. That is more than all the results that “man¬ kind in its entire history" has achieved. That is enough for Rudolph to save “the world ” twice from “downfall”!

a A “good tenant”, a “good neighbour”, a “good friend”, a “good father”, a “good bourgeois”, a “good citizen”, a “good prince”.— Ed.




Through Rudolph, Critical Criticism has twice saved the world from downfall, but only that it may now itself decree the end of the world.

And I saw and heard a mighty angel, Herr Hirzel, flying from Zurich across the heavens. And he had in his hand a little book open like the fifth number of the Allgemeine Litera- tur-Zeitung; and he set his right foot upon the Mass and his left foot upon Charlottenburg; and he cried with a loud voice as when a lion roareth, and his words rose like a dove—chirp! chirp!—to the regions of pathos and thunder-like aspects of the Critical Last Judgment.

“When, finally, all is united against Criticism and— verily, verily I say unto you 3 —this time is no longer far off—when the whole world in dissolution— to it it was given to fight against the Holy —groups around Criticism for the last onslaught; then the courage of Criticism and its significance will have found the greatest recognition. We can have no fear of the outcome. It will all end by our settling “accounts with the various groups— and we shall separate them from one another as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats; and we shall set the sheep on our right hand and the goats on our left —and we shall give a general certificate of poverty to the hostile knights— they are spirits of the devil, they go out into the breadth of the world and they gather to fight on the great day of God the Almighty—and all who dwell on earth will wonder."

  • The words in italics between dashes are Marx’s ironical insertions.



And when the angel had cried, seven thunders uttered then- voices:

Dies irae, dies ilia Solvet saeclum in favilla.

Judex ergo cum sedebit,

Quidquid latet, adparebit,

Nil inultum remanebit.

Quid sum, miser, tunc dicturus? etc. 1

Ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. All this must first of all come to pass. For there shall rise false Christs and false prophets, Messieurs Buchez and Roux from Paris, Herr Friedrich Rohmer and Theodor Rohmer from Zurich, and they will say: Here is Christ! But then the sign of the Bauer brothers will ap¬ pear in Criticism and the words of the Scripture on Bauer’s work b will be accomplished:

Quand les boeufs vont deux a deux Le labourage en va mieux! c

Historical Epilogue

As we learned later, it was not the world, but the Critical Literatur-Zeitung that came to an end.

» That day of wrath Will reduce the world to ashes.

When the judge takes his seat All that is hidden will come to light,

Nothing will remain unpunished.

What shall I, wretch, say then?— Ed. b The author says “ Bauernwerk ”, which literally means “peasant’s work”.— Ed.

c With the oxen paired together Ploughing goes much better!

(From a French drinking song.)— Ed.


1 The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Criticism. Against Bruno Bauer and Co. is the first joint work of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. At the end of August 1844, Engels, on his way back from Manchester to Barmen, stopped over in Paris, where he had his sec¬ ond meeting with Marx, a meeting which marked the beginning of their collaboration as authors.

During the ten days which Engels spent in Paris, he and Marx agreed to publish a criticism of the representatives of the Young Hegelian trend. They drew up the plan of a book which they at first called A Critique of Critical Criticism. Against Bruno Bauer and Co., divided the sections between themselves and wrote the Fore¬ word. Engels wrote his sections before leaving Paris. Marx, whose share comprised the bigger part of the book, continued to work on it till the end of November 1844, considerably increasing the size of the book and drawing on his “Economic and Philosophic Manu¬ scripts”, on which he had been working during the spring and sum¬ mer of 1844, as well as on his studies of the history of the French Revolution and his notes and summaries. During the printing of the book, Marx, on the advice of the publisher Lowenthal, added to the title the words “The Holy Family”. The book was published in Feb¬ ruary 1845 in Frankfurt am Main by the Literarische Anstalt (J. Rut- ten) publishers. The table of contents showed which sections had been written by Marx and which by Engels (see contents of this book, pp. 5-6). The fact that the book, though of small format, ex¬ ceeded twenty printed sheets in volume, exempted it from prelimin¬ ary censorship in accordance with the regulations operating at the time in a number of German states.

“The Holy Family” is a sarcastic nickname for the Bauer broth¬ ers and their followers who supported the Allgemcine Literatur- Zeitung published in Charlottenburg from the end of 1843 to October 1844. While attacking the Bauers and other Young Hegelians, Marx


and Engels at the same time critically analysed the idealist philosophy of Hegel himself.

Marx had shown his disagreement with the Young Hegelians already in the autumn of 1842 when, as an editor of the Rheinische Zeitung, he opposed the publication of superficial and pretentious arti¬ cles submitted by the outwardly ultra-radical Berlin circle of “The Free” (Edgar Bauer, Max Stimer, Eduard Meyen and others). Dur¬ ing the two years which had elapsed since Marx’s clash with “The Free”, Marx’s and Engels’ disagreement with the Young Hegelians on questions of theory and politics had deepened still more. This was accounted for not only by the transition of Marx and Engels to materialism and communism, but also by the evolution which had taken place during that time in the ideas of the Bauer brothers and their fellow-thinkers. In the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung Bauer and his group renounced the “radicalism of 1842” and, besides professing subjective idealist views, and counterposing chosen personalities, the bearers of “pure Criticism”, to the allegedly sluggish and inert masses they began spreading the ideas of moderate liberal philanthropy. Marx’s draft of the Preface to his “Economic and Philosophic Manus¬ cripts” shows that already in the summer of 1844 he saw in the evolution of the Young Hegelians’ views a degeneration of that initially progressive trend, a deepening of the features of mysticism and transcendentalism peculiar to Hegel’s idealism, the disintegration of the Hegelian school (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 3, p. 233).

It was to exposure of the Young Hegelians’ views in the form which they had acquired in 1844 and to defence of their own new materialistic and communistic outlook that Marx and Engels decided to devote their first joint work.

The appearance of The Holy Family evoked a lively response in the German press. It was pointed out that this work was the most profound and the most forceful of all that Marx and Engels had recently written (Mannheimer Abend-Zeitung, March 25, 1845), that it expressed socialist views, since it criticised the “inadequacy of any half-measures directed at eliminating the social ailments of our time” (Kolnische Zeitung, March 21, 1845).

Reactionary circles immediately discerned the book’s revolution¬ ary trend. As early as December 1844, when the work was still print¬ ing, it was denounced in reports by Metternich’s agents. The con¬ servative Allgemeine Zeitung, polemising against the assessment of The Holy Family given by the Kolnische Zeitung, wrote with irrita¬ tion on April 8, 1845, that in this book “every line preaches revolt . .. against the state, the church, the family, legality, religion and property”, that in it “prominence is given to the most radical and the most open communism, and this is all the more dangerous as


Herr Marx cannot be denied either extremely broad knowledge or the ability to make use of the polemical arsenal of Hegel’s logic, what is customarily called ‘iron logic’ A month and a half later, on May 23 t 1845, the Allgemeine Zeitung again censured the Kol- nische Zeitung for publishing a favourable opinion of The Holy Family.

Bruno Bauer’s attempt to refute the criticism publicly (in the article “Charakteristik Ludwig Feuerbachs”, published in Wigand’s Vierteljahrsschrift, Leipzig, 1845, Bd. Ill) boiled down essentially to asserting that he had not been correctly understood, Marx replied to this “anti-criticism” of Bauer’s with an article published in the journal Gesellschaftsspiegel, Elberfeld, January 1846 (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 5) which partly coincided in con¬ tent with the section “Der Heilige Bruno gegen die Autoren der ‘Heiligen Familie’ ” in Chapter 2 (“Der Heilige Bruno”) of the first volume of The German Ideology (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Col¬ lected Works, Vol. 5).

During the lifetimes of Marx and Engels The Holy Family was not published in English. Only part of subsection d), “Critical Battle against French Materialism”, of Chapter VI, was reproduced by Engels in the Introduction to the 1892 English edition of Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (the German version of this introduction was published in Die Neue Zeit in 1895 under the title “Uber den fran- zosischen Materialismus des XVIII. Jahrhunderts”).

In the English language The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Criticism, was published for the first time in 1956 by the Foreign Languages Publishing House, now Progress Publishers, Moscow, in the translation by Richard Dixon. The literary features of the work include the broad use of citations from French authors (Eugene Sue, Pierre Joseph Proudhon, and others) in the language of the original, alongside citations translated into German, as well as the use of indi¬ vidual expressions in foreign languages, especially French. This feature is preserved in the present edition, the translations of the citations being given in footnotes. Emphasis in the citations (printed in dear- face italics or bold-face italics in cases of special emphasis) mostly belongs to Marx and Engels, who often translated the citations with abridgments.

Title page

’ The reference is to the review made by the bookbinder C. Reichardt of A. T. Woeniger’s Publicistische Abhandlungen, Berlin, 1843. The review was published in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft I, December 1843 and Heft II, January 1844, under the general title “Schriften fiber den Pauperismus” and mentioned the author’s pro¬ fession. The short excerpts and individual expressions quoted by En-


gels below and at the end of Chapter I are taken from this review.

p. 14

1 Here and elsewhere Engels quotes Reichardt’s reviews of C. Bruege- mann’s book, Preussens Beruf in der deutschen Staats-Entwickelung, und die nacksten Bedingungen zu seiner Erfullung, Berlin, 1843 and A. Benda’s Katechismus fur wahlberechtigte Burger in Preussen , Ber¬ lin, 1843. Both reviews were published in the Allgemeine Literatur- Zeitung, Heft VI, May 1844. p. 14

  • The chapter contains a critical analysis of Julius Faucher’s article,

“Englische Tagesfragen”, which was published in the Allgemeine Li- teratur-Zeitung, Heft VII, June 1844, Heft VIII, July 1844 (with the subtitle “Fortsetzung. Lord Ashley’s Amendment”) and Heft IX, August 1844 (with the subtitle “Fortsetzung. Ricardos Motion in Betreff der Einfuhrzolle”). The excerpts and expressions cited below were taken by Engels from this article.

The word Muhleigner , a literal translation of the English “mill- owner”, dees not exist in German. Engels here ridicules J. Faucher’s way of using in his articles words which he himself coins after the English manner (see p. 22 of this edition). p. 17

  • The national Anti-Corn Law League was founded in 1838 by the

Manchester manufacturers Cobden and Bright. The English Com Laws, first adopted in the 15th century, imposed high tariffs on agri¬ cultural imports in order to maintain high prices for them on the home market. In the first third of the 19th century, 1815, 1822, and later several laws were passed changing the conditions for corn im¬ ports, and in 1828 a sliding scale was introduced which raised im¬ port tariffs on com when prices in the home market declined and, on the other hand, lowered tariffs when the home market prices rose.

The League widely exploited the popular discontent over the rais¬ ing of com prices. In its efforts to obtain the repeal of the Com Laws and the establishment of complete freedom of trade, it aimed at weakening the economic and political positions of the landed aristoc¬ racy and lowering the cost of living thus making possible a lower¬ ing of the workers’ wages.

The struggle between the industrial bourgeoisie and the landed aristocracy over the Com Laws ended in 1846 with the repeal of these laws. p. 19

  • The struggle for legislation limiting the working day to ten hours

started in England as early as the late 18th century and spread by the 1830s to the mass of the industrial workers. The representatives of the landed aristocracy saw their chance to use this popular slogan against the industrial bourgeoisie and supported the Ten Hour Bill in Parliament; the “Tory philanthropist” Lord Ashley headed the


supporters of the Bill in Parliament from 1833. The Ten Hour Bill, applicable only to youths and women, was not passed until 1847.

p. 19

' When an important question is being discussed, the House of Com¬ mons sits in “Committee of the Whole House’’, which is tantamount to a closed sitting; in this case the function of committee chairman is performed by one of the Members named in the list of committee chairmen and appointed by the Speaker. p. 20

  • The reference is to the speech made during the debate on the

Ten Hour Bill in the House of Commons on March 15, 1844, by Sir James Graham, Home Secretary in Sir Robert Peel’s Tory cabinet ( Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates. Third Series, Vol. LXXIII).

p. 20

'It was with the letter “J”, the first letter of “Jungnitz”, that the article “Herr Nauwerck und die philosophische Fakultat”, published in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft VI, May 1844, was signed. The publication of this article was preceded by J. Jungnitz’s review of Karl Nauwerck’s book Vber die Teilnahme am Staate, Leipzig, 1844. Engels took the short excerpts given below from this article. (Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft IV, March 1844). p. 23

10 The reference is to the dismissal of Bruno Bauer, whom the Prus¬ sian Government deprived, temporarily in October 1841 and perma¬ nently in March 1842, of the right to lecture in Bonn University because of his works criticising the Bible. p. 23

“ The excerpts cited in this paragraph are from the anonymous arti¬ cle “Proudhon” published in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft V, April 1844. Its author was Edgar Bauer. Marx gives a detailed critical analysis of this article in section 4 of Chapter IV. E. Bauer’s phrase “the tranquillity of knowledge” was ironically played up also in other sections of this chapter written by Marx and Engels.

p. 24

“ In this section Engels analyses and cites a review by Edgar Bauer in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft V, April 1844, of Flora Tristan’s Union ouvriire, Paris, 1843. p. 25

“ In this section Engels deals with Edgar Bauer’s review of F. F. A. Beraud’s Les filler publiques de Paris et la police qui les rigit, t. I-II, Paris et Leipzig, 1839. This review was published in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft V, April 1844, under the title “Beraud fiber die Freudenmadchen”. p. 26


14 In this section Marx criticises and cites Edgar Bauer’s article “Die Romane der Verfasserin von Godwie Castle”, published in the All¬ gemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft II, January 1844, and devoted to an analysis of the works of the German novelist Henriette von Paal- zow. p. 27

” Marx compares with Edgar Bauer’s article “Proudhon” ( Allgemei- ne Literatur-Zeitung, Heft V, April 1844), which he criticises and cites in this section, excerpts from the second, 1841, edition of Proud¬ hon’s Qu’est-ce que la propriiti? ou Recherches sur le principe du droit et du gouvernement. Premier memoire (the first edition appeared in 1840 in Paris). Marx quotes Proudhon’s book sometimes from the French original, sometimes in his own German translation.

Marx later made a comprehensive critical appraisal of this work of Proudhon’s in his article “fiber Proudhon”, which was published as a letter to Schweitzer, editor of the Social-Democrat, in 1865. p. 30

” The “Reformists” were a party of radical opponents of the July monarchy. The party consisted of democratic republicans and petty- bourgeois Socialists grouped round the Paris newspaper La Riforme. The leaders of the Reforme party included Ledru-Rollin and Louis Blanc. p. 32

1T Digesta or Pandects were part of a compendium of Roman civil law (corpus iuris civilis ) compiled in 528-34 by Emperor Justinian I of the Eastern Roman Empire. They contained extracts from the works of prominent Roman jurists on civil law. p. 38

“ Here and to the end of the subsection “Characterising Translation No. 4” Marx compared citations from Bauer’s article with excerpts from another work by Proudhon, Avertissement aux proprietaires, ou Lettre A M. Consid(rant, ridacteur de la Phalange, sur une defense de la propriete. In content this book was close to Proudhon’s Qu’est-ce que la propriAte?, the closing section of which, “Deuxieme memoire. Lettre A M. Blanqui, professeur d’iconomie politique au conserva¬ toire des arts et metiers. Sur la propriety,” is quoted above.

p. 64

14 The quotations are from an anonymous review of Thiers’ book Geschichte der franzosischen Revolution which was published in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft VIII, July 1844. In “Critical Comment No. 5”, Marx continues giving quotations from Edgar Bauer’s article on Proudhon (Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft V), comparing them with extracts from Proudhon’s book Qu’est-ce que la propriete? P- 64


30 This chapter deals with and quotes from the review written by the Young Hegelian Szeliga (the pen-name of F. Z. Zychlinski) on the French writer Eugene Sue’s novel Les mystires de Paris, which was published in 1843 and became well known as a sample of sentimental social fantasy woven into an adventure plot.

Szeliga’s review was printed in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft VII, June 1844, under the title: “Eugene Sue: Die Oeheimnisse von Paris. Kritik von Szeliga”. Marx continues the critical analysis of this article in Chapter VIII.

The excerpts from Sue’s novel in the two chapters are given by Marx either in French or in German translation. p. 69

11 The reference is to the Charte constitutionnelle which was adopted in France after the bourgeois revolution of 1830 and was the basic law of the July monarchy.

In its fundamental principles the Charte constitutionnelle repro¬ duced the constitutional charter of 1814. but the preamble of the 1814 charter, which spoke of the constitution being granted (“oc- troyie") by the king, was omitted and the rights of the upper and lower chambers were extended at the expense of certain royal pre¬ rogatives. According to the new constitution the king was considered only as the head of the executive authority and was deprived of the right to abrogate or suspend laws.

The expression “Charte verity ” is an ironical allusion to the concluding words of Louis-Philippe’s proclamation of July 31, 1830: “henceforth the charter shall be the truth.” p. 71

” Here and elsewhere quotations are made from Bruno Bauer’s anon¬ ymous article, “Neueste Schriften liber die Tudenfraee”, which was published in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft I, December 1843. This article was Bruno Bauer’s reply to criticism in the press of his book Die Judenfrage, Braunschweig, 1843, which was a reprint, with some additions, of his articles on the same subject published in the journal Deutsche Jahrbucher fur Wissenschaft und Kunst in No¬ vember 1842. •

Marx gave a critical analysis of this book in his article “On the Jewish Question”, which was carried by the Deutsch-Franzosische Jahr¬ bucher (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 31. Later Bauer replied to criticism of his book in an article he published in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung. Tn The Holy Family Marx iron¬ ically designates that article as “The Jewish Question No. 1”, and the following articles as “The Jewish Question No. 2” and “The Jewish Question No. 3". p. 99

" Ludwig Feuerbach’s “Vorlaufige Thesen zur Reformation der Philo¬ sophic” was written in January 1842 and prohibited by the censor


in Germany. It was published in 1843 in Switzerland in the second volume of the collection, Anekdota zur neuesten deutschen Philoso¬ phy und Publicistik. This two-volume collection also contained arti¬ cles by Karl Marx, Bruno Bauer, Friedrich Koppen, Arnold Ruge, and others. p. 104

24 Doctrinaires —a group of French bourgeois politicians during the Restoration (1815-30). They were constitutional monarchist^ enemies of the democratic and revolutionary movement and wished to unite the bourgeoisie and the nobility. Their ideal was a political system after the English model, formalising these two privileged classes’ mo¬ nopoly of governmental power in opposition to the broad “uneducat¬ ed” and propertyless sections. The best known Doctrinaires were the historian Francois Guizot and the philosopher Pierre Paul Royer- Collard. p. 107

Concerning Reply No. 1, Bruno Bauer’s first article against critics of his Die Judenfrage, see Note 22. In this article Bauer polemises with the authors of a number of reviews on his book, as well as with the authors of books and pamphlets, including the following: Die Judenfrage von Bruno Bauer naher beleuchtet, by Dr. Gustav Philipp- son, Dessau, 1843; Bnefe zur Beleuchtung der Judenfrage von Bruno Bauer, by Dr. Samuel Hirsch, Leipzig, 1843; Liter at urblatt des Orients, 1843, No. 25 & ff. (Recension der Judenfrage von Bruno Bauer und der Briefe von Hirsch); Der Israelit des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts, published by Dr. M. Hess, 1843, and others.

p. 109

x This quotation is from Bruno Bauer’s third article in reply to criti¬ cisms of his book Die Judenfrage. The article, a polemic against Marx and his work “Zur Judenfrage”, published in the Deutsch-Franzdsische Jahrbucher, was printed anonymously in the Allgemeine Literatur- Zeitung, Heft VIII, July 1844, under the title: “Was ist jetzt der Gegenstand der Kritik?” Below Marx resumes his quotations from and criticism of Bruno Bauer’s first article, “Neueste Schriften liber die Judenfrage” published in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft I, December 1843. p. 110

21 The allusion here is to the five Napoleonic codes. p. 112

2 * Here and elsewhere Marx criticises and quotes Bruno Bauer’s re¬ view of the first volume of a course of lectures by the right Hegelian Hinrichs: Politische Vorlesungen, Bd. I-II, Halle, 1843. This review appeared anonymously in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft I, December 1843. Subsequently the same monthly (Heft V, April 1844) carried Bauer’s reviews of the second volume of lectures, which is analysed in the same chapter of The Holy Family under the title:


“Hinrichs No. 2. ‘Criticism’ and ‘Feuerbach’. Condemnation of Phi¬ losophy”. p. 113

a Here and elsewhere Marx quotes and analyses Bauer’s anonymous review of the second volume of Hinrichs’ lectures. The review was printed in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft V, April 1844.

p. 115

"° Here and elsewhere Marx quotes and analyses Bauer’s second arti¬ cle in reply to criticism of his Die Judenfrage. It was printed anony¬ mously under the same title as the first—“Neueste Schriften fiber die Judenfrage”—in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft IV, March 1844. The article analyses four polemical works, including Die Juden¬ frage. Gegen Bruno Bauer, by Dr. Gabriel Riesser in Hamburg, which appeared in Weil’s Konstitutionelle Jahrbucher, 1843, Bd. 2 and 3.

p. 118

“ The reference is to the measures taken by the Convention against speculators in foodstuffs. In September 1793 the Convention decreed the establishment of a general maximum—fixed prices for the main food products and consumer articles; the death penalty was introduced for speculation in and concealment of products. p. 118

31 “Was ist jetzt der Gegenstand der Kritik?” was the title of an article by Bruno Bauer printed anonymously in the Allgemeine Lite- ratur-Zeitung } Heft VIII, July 1844. It was the third polemical arti¬ cle against critics of his Die Judenfrage, in this case primarily against Marx’s article “Zur Judenfrage” in the Deutsch-Franzosische jahr¬ bucher. This article of Bauer’s is quoted and analysed by Marx not only under the title “Absolute Criticism’s Self-Apology. Its ‘Political’ Past” but also under several other titles in the section “Absolute Crit¬ icism’s Third Campaign”. p. 123

” In January 1843 the Young Hegelians’ journal Deutsche Jahrbucher fur Wissenschaft und Kunst, then appearing in Leipzig (up to July 1841 it had been published in the Prussian town of Halle under the title Hallische Jahrbucher fur Deutsche Wissenschaft und Kunst), was closed down by the government of Saxony and prohibited throughout Germany by a decree of the Federal Diet. On January 19 of the same year the Prussian Government decided to forbid as of April 1, 1843, the publication of the Rheinische Zeitung fur Politik, Handel und Gewerbe, which had been appearing in Cologne since January 1, 1842, and which, under the editorship of Marx (from October 1842), had acquired a revolutionary-democratic trend. Marx’s resignation from the editorship on March 18, 1843, did not cause the government to rescind its decision, and the last issue appeared on March 31, 1843.

p. 124


Concerning Bruno Bauer’s dismissal from the chair of theology, see Note 10. Bauer replied to the Government’s repressive measures by the publication in Zurich and Winterthur in 1842 of the pamphlet: Die gute Sache der Freiheit und meine eigene Angelegenheit.

p. 128

The reference is to the review by Karl Planck of Bauer’s Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte der Synoptiker, Bd. 1-2, Leipzig, 1841, Bd. 3. Braunschweig, 1842. (“Synoptics” is the name given in the his¬ tory of religion to the compilers of the first three Gospels.) The review was published in the Jahrbiicher fur wissenschaftliche Kritik, Berlin, June 1842, Nos. 107-114. Planck disputed Bauer’s Young He¬ gelian theory on the origin of Christianity from, the positions of the more moderate criticism of the Gospel sources given by Strauss.

p. 128

Marx has in mind the section of Hegel’s book Phanomenologie des Geistes entitled “Die Kampf der Aufklarung mit dem Aberglauben”.

p. 128

The article in question is Bruno Bauer’s “Die Fahigkeit der heuti- gen Juden und Christen, frei zu werden”, which was published in the collection Einundzwanzig Bogen aus der Schweiz, Zurich and Win¬ terthur, 1843; along with the book Die Judenfrage (an enlarged edi¬ tion of Bauer’s articles on this subject first published in 1842), this article was subjected to a critical analysis by Marx in his article “Zur Judenfrage” in the Deutsch-Franzosische Jahrbiicher. p. 133

The reference is to the attempt to unite the various Lutheran trends by means of the forced Union of 1817, when the Lutherans were united with the Reformed (Calvinist) Church to form the Evangel¬ ical Church. The Old Lutherans, who opposed this union, seceded to form their own trend defending the “true” Lutheran Church.

p. 139

The reference is to the policy of de-christianisation pursued in France by Hebert and his supporters in the autumn of 1793. Out¬ wardly it was expressed in the closing of churches and the renuncia¬ tion of Catholic rites. The forcible methods used to implement these measures outraged believers, especially among the peasants, p. 141

1 In their efforts to consolidate the Jacobin dictatorship, Robespierre and his supporters opposed the policy of de-christianisation. A decree of the Convention on December 6, 1793, prohibited “all violence or threats directed against the freedom of worship”. p. 141

1 Cercle social —an organisation established by democratic intellectuals in Paris in the first years of the French Revolution. Its chief spokes-


man, Claude Fauchet, demanded an equalitarian division of the land, restrictions on large fortunes and employment for all able-bodied citi¬ zens. Ihe criticism to which Fauchet and his supporters subjected the formal equality proclaimed in the documents of the F’rench Revolution prepared the ground for bolder action in defence of the destitute by Jacques Roux, Theophile Leclerc and other members of the radical- plebeian "Enrages”. p. 148

“ Marx has in mind the Histoire parlementaire de la Revolution jran- {aise , t. 1-40, Paris, 1834-38, published by the French historian and publicist Ph. J. Buchez jointly with P. C. Roux-Lavergne. It consisted of numerous documents. The introductory articles by Buchez, a for¬ mer Republican and pupil of Saint-Simon, who adopted the views of Christian Socialism in the 1830s, praised the Jacobins’ activity and their revolutionary traditions but censured the steps taken by them against the Catholic clergy. p. 148

“ Robespierre’s speech, “Rapport sur les principes de morale politique qui doivent guider la Convention nationale dans [’administration inte- neure de la Republique, fait au nom du comite de salut public, a la seance du 5 fevrier (17 Pluviose) 1794”, is quoted according to the German translation of the Histoire parlementaire de la Revolution jrangaise, by Buchez and Roux-Lavergne, t. 31, Paris, 1837. p. 150

44 The report made by Saint-Just in the name of the Committees of Public Safety and of General Security at the Convention’s sitting of March 31 (11 Germinal), 1794, is quoted according to the German translation of the Histoire parlementaire de la Revolution jrangaise, by Buchez and Roux-Lavergne, t. 32, Paris, 1837. p. 151

41 The text of the report made by Saint-Just on the police at the Convention’s sitting of April 15 (26 Germinal), 1794, was published in the Histoire parlementaire de la Revolution jrangaise, by Buchez and Roux-Lavergne, t. 32, Paris, 1837. p. 151

44 The Directory —the regime established in France as a result of the overthrow of the Jacobin government on July 27 (9 Thermidor), 1794, and the introduction on November 4, 1795, by the Thermidor Convention, of a new anti-democratic constitution. Supreme executive power was concentrated in the hands of five Directors. The Directory, whose rule was marked by the flowering of enterprise and speculation, remained in existence until the coup d’etat of November 9 (18 Bru- maire), 1799, which completed the bourgeois counter-revolution and led to the personal rule of General Napoleon Bonaparte. p. 152

47 The reference is apparently to the relevant articles in the Staats- Lexikon, oder Encyklopadie der Staatswissenschaften, Bd. 1-15, 1834-


48, published by the German liberal historian C. Rotteck and the German liberal jurist G. Welcker. Rotteck was also the author of the four-volume Allgemeine Weltgeschichte fur alie Stande, von den friihesten Zeiten bis zum Jahre 1831, Stuttgart, 1833. p. 153

“ The first complete edition of the work of P. J. G. Cabanis appeared in Paris in 1802. But a considerable part had been published in 1798 and 1799 in the Transactions of the French Academy, under the title: Traite du physique et du moral de Vhomme. p. 156

" The Jansenists —named after the Dutch theologian Cornelius Jan¬ sen—were an opposition trend among French Catholics in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Their views were vigorously resisted by offi¬ cial Catholicism. p. 156

  • ° A large excerpt from this subsection of The Holy Family, beginning

with this sentence and ending with the words: . .deism is but an easy-going way of getting rid of religion” (see p. 160 of this book), was subsequently included with a few changes by Engels in his Intro¬ duction to the 1892 English edition of his Socialism: Utopian and Scientific. Accordingly the passage is here given in Engels’ translation except for the changes which he made. p. 158

“ The Nominalists were adherents of a trend in medieval scholasticism, generally considered heretical and dangerous, which maintained that only individual things exist and that generality belongs only to words. They criticised the traditional “realist” doctrine, derived from Plato, that universal or “ideas” have real existence above and independent of individual things, and likewise the “conceptualist” view that while universals do not exist outside the mind they do exist in the mind as general conceptions. The doctrine of Nominalism was later forcefully taken up and developed by the English materialist philosopher Thomas Hobbes. p. 158

“ Homoeomeriae, according to the teaching of the ancient Greek philos¬ opher Anaxagoras, are tiny qualitatively determined material particles which are infinite in number and variety and form the primary basis of all that exists; their combinations constitute all the variety of things.

p. 158

" In his Introduction to the 1892 English edition of his Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, Engels gives the following explanation of this term: “ ‘Qual’ is a philosophical play upon words. Qual literally means torture, a pain which drives to action of some kind; at the same time the mystic Bohme puts into the German word something of the meaning of the Latin qualitas; his ‘qual’ was the activating principle arising from, and promoting in its turn, the spontaneous

18— USS


development of the thing, relation, or person subject to it, in con¬ tradistinction to a pain inflicted from without.” p. 158

54 Claude Adrien Helvetius, De Vhomme, de ses facultes intellectuelles et de son education, London, 1773. The first edition of this work, published after the author’s death, appeared in London due to the efforts of the Russian ambassador in Holland, D. A. Golitsyn.

p. 161

55 Many of the works by the philosophers mentioned were vigorously

denounced by the Church and the Government authorities. La Met- trie’s book, L’homme machine, published anonymously in Leyden in 1748, was burned and its author was banished from Holland, where he had emigrated from France in 1745. When the first edition of Holbach’s Systeme de la Nature, ou des Lois du Monde physique et du Monde moral was put out in 1770, the name of the author was given as J. B. Mirabeau, secretary of the French Academy who had died in 1760. p. 161

“ The first edition of Helvetius’ book De Vesprit was published anony¬ mously in Paris in 1758 and was burned by the public executioner in 1759.

" The first edition of Holbach’s Systeme social, ou Principes naturels de la morale et de la politique was published anonymously in three volumes in 1773. p. 165

“ This is an allusion to the hostile campaign conducted for a number of years by the conservative Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung against socialism and communism. In October 1842, this paper accused the Rheinische Zeitung, whose editor was Marx, of spreading communist views. In reply Marx published his article “Communism and the Aug¬ sburg Allgemeine Zeitung ” (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 1) . p. 166

" The reference is to members of a political grouping which for¬ med in France around the newspaper La Reforme (see Note 16). One of the leaders of this grouping, the petty-bourgeois Socialist Louis Blanc, put out in 1839-40 a pamphlet entitled L’organisation du travail, which became widely known. p. 168

60 This is an ironic allusion to the ancient Roman tradition about the

geese whose cackling saved Rome in 390 B.C. by waking the guards at the approach of the Gauls who had laid siege to the Capitol.

p. 168

61 The quotation is taken from Bruno Bauer’s review of the book Leben


und Wirken Friedrich von Sallet’s, nebst Mittheilungen aus dem lite- rarischen Nachlasse Desselben, Breslau, 1844. The review was pub¬ lished anonymously in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft VIII, July 1844. p. 172

62 Below Marx gives excerpts from the following reports: Zerrleder, “Correspondenz aus Bern” ( Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Heft III, February 1844, Heft VI, May 1844); E. Fleischhammer, “Correspon¬ denz aus Breslau (ibid., Heft IV, March 1844); Hirzel, “Correspon¬ denz aus Zurich” (ibid., Heft IV, March 1844, Heft V, April 1844); “Correspondenz aus der Provinz” (ibid., Heft VI, May 1844).

p. 180

63 Bruno Bauer’s reply (on behalf of the paper’s editorial board) to

the Tubingen correspondent was published in the Allgemeine Litera¬ tur-Zeitung, Heft VI, May 1844, under the heading “Correspondenz aus der Provinz”. Excerpts from the reports published under this heading in the same issue are given below. p. 182

M Berlin Couleur was the name by which the correspondent of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung mentioned above designated the Berlin Young Hegelians who did not belong to Bruno Bauer’s group and criticised the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung on a number of petty points. Max Stirner was one of them.

The excerpts quoted in this and the concluding subsections of the chapter are from the anonymous letters published under the head¬ ing “Correspondenz aus der Provinz” in the Allgemeine Literatur- Zeitung, Heft VI, May 1844, as are also the editors’ replies to these letters. p. 185

“ By the “philosophy of identity” is meant Schelling’s early philosoph¬ ical views which he expounded at the beginning of the 19th cen¬ tury. These views were based on the idea of the absolute identity of thinking and being, consciousness and matter as the root of every¬ thing which exists. These views represented a transitional stage in the development of German classical philosophy, from the subjective idealism of Fichte to the absolute idealism of Hegel. But Schelling himself, in whose philosophical outlook religiosity and mysticism later came to dominate, not only condemned Hegel’s philosophy in his subsequent pronouncements, and particularly in his lectures on the “Philosophy of Revelation” in Berlin University in 1841-42 (which were critically analysed by the young Engels in his pamphlet Schel¬ ling and Revelation) ; he even renounced the rational elements of his own “philosophy of identity” (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Collec¬ ted Works, Vol. 2). p. 191

M The reference is to F. Gruppe’s pamphlet Bruno Bauer und die




akademische Lehrfreiheit, Berlin, 1842, directed against Bruno Bauer and the Young Hegelians. Marx had criticised this polemical pam¬ phlet, which was written from a conservative standpoint (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 1, pp. 211-14). p. 195

” The reference is to the article “Emigranten und MHrtyrer. Ein Beitrag zur Charakteristik der Deutsch-Franzosischen Jahrbucher", by H. L. Egidius, published in the journal Konstitutionelle Jahrbucher, 1844, Bd. II. p. 201

" The quotations from Fourier’s works Le nouveau monde industriel et societaire, Theorie des quatre mouvements et des destinies generates (the first edition was published in 1808) are given by Marx in his own translation and the quotation from Theorie de I’unite universelle is in French. p. 243

" Marx had in mind Theodore Dezamy, Jules Gay and their support¬ ers, whose materialistic outlook he characterised in Chapter VI of The Holy Family (see p. 162 of this book). The revolutionary and

materialistic trend of French utopian communism included also the

secret Babouvist societies of the 1840s influenced by Dezamy: the “travailleurs egalitaires", which consisted mainly of workers and published the journal I’Fgalitaire, and the “ humanitaires ”, support¬ ers of the journal I’Humanitaire. In 1843 Engels wrote about the criticism of bourgeois marriage and family relations by representa¬ tives of these societies in his article “Progress of Social Reform on the Continent” (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 3, p. 392). p.243

,0 This is an allusion to the leading role played by K. H. Sack ; a pro¬ fessor of Bonn University, in the campaign waged by reactionary theological circles against the Young Hegelians, which began in connection with Bruno Bauer’s transfer as a privat-dozent from Berlin to Bonn in 1839. Especially sharp attacks were made against Bauer’s criticism of the Gospel sources and the atheistic conclusions following from his views on the origin of Christianity. In March 1842, Bauer was dismissed from Bonn University. The theological opponents of the Young Hegelians were ridiculed in Engels’ satiri¬ cal poem “The Insolently Threatened Yet Miraculously Rescued Bible”, in which Sack figures under the ironical name of Beutel (in German Sack means sack, Beutel —pouch) (K. Marx and F. Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 2, pp. 313-51). p. 251

” The reference is to the petty German princes who lost their power and saw their possessions annexed by larger German states as a result of the reshaping of the political map of Germany during the ~ Napoleonic wars and at the Vienna Congress (1814-15). p. 252


” “Young England ” was a group of conservative writers and politi¬ cians, including Disraeli and Lord John Manners, who were close to the Tory philanthropists and formed a separate group in the House of Commons in 1841. Voicing the landed aristocracy’s dissatisfaction at the political and economic strengthening of the bourgeoisie, they criticised the capitalist system and supported half-hearted philan¬ thropic measures for improving the condition of the workers. “Young England” disintegrated as a political group in 1845 and ceased to exist as a literary trend in 1848. In the Manifesto of the Commun¬ ist Party Marx and Engels characterised the views of “Young En¬ gland” as “feudal socialism” (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 6). p. 254



Alison, Sir Archibald (1792- 1867)—Scottish historian and economist, Tory—19

Anaxagoras (c. 500-428 B. G.) — Greek philosopher—158

Antonius, Marcus (83-30 B. C.) —Roman politician and gen¬ eral, adherent of Julius Cae¬ sar—151

Aristides (c. 540-467 B. C.)— Athenian statesman and gen¬ eral during the Greco-Persian wars—151

Arkwright, Sir Richard (1732- 1792)—English manufacturer, inventor of the spinning throstle, the carding engine, and other spinning machines known by his name—18

Arnauld, Antoine (1612-1694) — French philosopher, adherent of Descartes’ theory of cogni¬ tion—157

Ashley (Cooper Anthony Ashley, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury.) (1801-1885)—English politi¬ cian, Tory philanthropist—19


Babeuf, Francois Noel ( Gracchus) (1760-1797)—French revolu¬

tionary, advocate of utopian egalitarian communism, or¬ ganiser of “conspiracy of equals”—59, 148

Bacon, Francis, Baron Verutam, Viscount St. Albans (1561- 1626)—English philosopher, naturalist and historian—158- 60

Bauer, Bruno (1809-1882)— German philosopher, Young Hegelian—12, 49-50, 52, 99- 147, 163-77, 183-92, 195-96, 237-40, 261

Bauer, Edgar (1820-1886) — German philosopher and writer, Young Hegelian, bro¬ ther and fellow-thinker of Bruno Bauer—25-33, 43, 48- 55, 63, 65, 66, 67, 98, 108, 182, 194, 195, 234, 261

Bayle, Pierre (1647-1706)— French sceptic philosopher, critic of religious dogmatism —157, 158

Beaumont de la BonninUre, Gus¬ tave Auguste de (1802-1866) —French liberal writer and politician, author of books on slavery of American Negroes —232

Bentham, Jeremy (1748-1832)— English sociologist, theoreti-


cian of utilitarianism—162, 164-65, 233, 241

Blackstone, Sir William (1723- 1780)—English lawyer, advo¬ cate of constitutional monar¬ chy—242

Bohme, Jakob (1575-1624)— German handicraftsman, pan¬ theist philosopher—158 Bourbons —French royal dynasty (1589-1792, 1814-15 and

1815-30)—102, 153 Boz —see Dickens, Charles Brutus, Marcus Junius (c. 85-42 B.C.)—Roman politician, re¬ publican, one of the initiators of the conspiracy against Julius Caesar—151 Buchez, Philippe Joseph Benjamin (1796-1865)—French politi¬ cian, historian, Christian So¬ cialist—148

Buonarroti, Filippo Michele (1761-1837)—Italian revolu¬ tionary, utopian communist; a leader of the French revolu¬ tionary movement in the late 18th and early 19th century, Babeuf’s comrade-in-arms—



Cabanis, Pierre Jean Georges (1757-1808)—French physi¬ cian and philosopher—156 Cabet, Etienne (1788-1856) — French writer, utopian com¬ munist, author of the book Voyage en Icarie —162 Caesar, Gaius Julius (c. 100-44 B.C.)—Roman general and statesman—151

Carlyle, Thomas (1795-1881) — British writer, historian and

philosopher; supported the Tories, preached views bord¬ ering on feudal socialism up to 1848; later a relentless op¬ ponent of the working-class movement—19

Cassius Longinus, Gaius (d. 42 B.C.)—Roman politician, re¬ publican, one of the organisers of the conspiracy against Julius Caesar—151

Catilina, Lucius Sergius (c. 108- 62 B.C.)—Roman politician, organiser of the conspiracy against the aristocratic repub¬ lic-151

Cato, Marcus Porcius (95-46 B.C.)—Roman statesman and philosopher, leader of the republicans—151

Chaptal, Jean Antoine Claude (1756-1832)—French states¬ man and chemist—248

Clodius, Publius (c. 93-52 B.C.) —surnamed Pulcher —Roman politician, adherent of Julius Caesar—151

Codrus, King of Athens in Greek legend, reigned about 1068 B.C.—151

Collins, Anthony (1676-1729) — English philosopher—160

Comte, Francois Charles Louis (1782-1837)—French liberal publicist and economist—32, 55-58

Condillac, Etienne Bonnot de (1715-1780)—French philos¬ opher, follower of Locke— 157, 160

Coward, William (c. 1656-1725) —English physician and philosopher—160

Crimieux, Isaac Moise, dit Adolphe (1796-1880) —


French lawyer and politician, in the 1840s was a liberal— 143

Crompton, Samuel (1753-1827) —English engineer, inventor of the spinning mule—17-18


D ant on, Georges Jacques (1759- 1794)—leading figure in the French Revolution; leader of the Right wing of the Jacob¬ ins—151

Democritus (c. 460-c. 370 B.C.) —Greek philosopher, one of the founders of the atomistic theory—156, 158

Demosthenes (384-322 B.C.) — Greek orator and politician— 151

Descartes (Cartesius), Rene (1596-1650)—French philo¬ sopher, mathematician and naturalist—155, 156, 157,

161, 164

Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Louis Claude, Comte de (1754- 1836)—French economist,

philosopher, advocate of con¬ stitutional monarchy—42

Dezamy, Theodore (1803-1850) —French writer, advocate of utopian communism—163

Dickens, Charles John Huff am (1812-1870)—English novel¬ ist—14

Diderot, Denis (1713-1784) — French philosopher in the period of Enlightenment; atheist, leader of the Encyclo¬ paedists—161

Do dwell, Henry, the younger (d. 1784)—English philosopher


Duns Scotus, John (c. 1265-

1308)—medieval scholastic

philosopher, Nominalist—158 Dupuis, Charles Francois (1742- 1809)—French philosopher in the period of Enlightenment —161


Edgar —see Bauer, Edgar Engels, Frederick (1820-1895)— 13

Epicurus (c. 341-c. 270 B.C.)— Greek atomistic philosopher— 156


Faucher, Julius (Jules) (1820- 1878)—German writer,

Young Hegelian; advocate of free trade—12, 17, 48, 51,98, 101-02, 108

Feuerbach, Ludwig Andreas von (1804-1872)—German philos¬ opher—50, 70, 115-17, 155, 157, 172, 175, 182 Fichte, Johann Gottlieb (1762- 1814)—German philosopher —149, 173

Fleischhammer, Emil —correspon¬ dent of Allgemeine Literatur- Zeitung in Breslau—180, 181 Fourier, Francois Marie Charles (1772-1837)—French utopian socialist—41, 102, 105, 110, 162, 241, 243, 249 Foy, Maximilien Sebastien (1775- 1825)—French general, libe¬ ral politician—93 Froment, M. —police official in . Paris during the Restoration




Gans, Eduard (c. 1798-1839) — German philosopher, professor of law at Berlin University, follower of Hegel—222

Gaskell, Peter —English physician and liberal journalist—19

Gassendi, Pierre (1592-1655)— French philosopher, adherent of the atomistic theory pro¬ pounded by Epicurus; physic¬ ist and mathematician—156

Gay, Jules (1807-after 1876) — French utopian communist— 163

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von (1749-1832)—German poet— 218

Graham, Sir James Robert George (1792-1861)—English statesman; a Whig at the be¬ ginning of his political career, later an adherent of Robert Peel; Home Secretary in Peel’s Cabinet (1841-46); Tory— 20, 22

Grotius, Hugo (1583-1645)— Dutch scientist, lawyer, one of the founders of the theory of natural law—61

Gruppe, Otto Friedrich (1804- 1876)—German writer and philosopher, opponent of Young Hegelians; attacked Bruno Bauer in 1842—195


Hargreaves, James (d. 1778) — English spinner, inventor of the power-loom known as the jenny—17

Hartley, David (1705-1757)— English physician and philo¬ sopher—160

Harun all-Rashid (763-809) —

Caliph of Baghdad of the Abbasid dynasty (786-809)— 223

HSbert, Jacques RenS (1757- 1794)—prominent figure in the French Revolution, leader of the Left wing of the Jaco¬ bins—141

Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1770-1831)—German philos¬ opher—17, 24, 26, 30, 46, 51, 76, 99, 103, 107, 109, 114, 115, 129, 133, 141, 155, 161, 163, 170-73, 175, 207, 222, 238-39, 250

Heine, Heinrich (1797-1856) — German revolutionary poet— 195

Helvitius, Claude Adrien (1715- 1771)—French philosopher, atheist, Enlightener—157, 161, 162, 164

Hinrichs, Hermann Friedrich Wilhelm (1794-1861) —Ger¬ man professor of philosophy, Right-wing Hegelian—113-16, 121, 129, 135, 170, 172, 174, 175

Hirsch, Samuel (1809-1889) — Rabbi in Dessau, philosopher and writer of religious lean¬ ings—110, 111

Hirzel, Konrad Melchior (1793- 1843)—Swiss politician and journalist, Zurich correspon¬ dent of the Allgemeine Lite- ratur-Zeitung —180-83. 260

Hobbes, Thomas (1588-16791— English philosopher—156, 159, 160

Holbach, Paul Henri Dietrich, Baron d’ (1723-1789) — French philosopher, atheist, Enlightener—161, 165

Homer —epic poet of Ancient


Greece, author of Iliad and Odyssey —59


Jungnitz, Ernst (d. 1848) —

German journalist, Young Hegelian, contributor to the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung —23


Kant, Immanuel (1724-1804) — German philosopher—222 Krug, Wilhelm Traugott (1770- 1842)—German philosopher —186


Lamettrie (La Mettrie), Julien Offray de (1709-1751)— French physician and philos¬ opher—156, 161

Law, John (1671-1729)—Scot¬ tish economist and financier, Director-General of Finance in France (1719-201—156 Leclerc, Theophile (b. 1771) — prominent figure in the French Revolution, one of the leaders of the revolutionary plebeian trend (Enrages) —148 Lehon —Paris notary—88 Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm (1646-1716)—German philo¬ sopher and mathematician— 123, 155, 157, 160, 161

Le Roy (in Dutch— De Roy, in Latin Regius ), Henry (1598- 1679)—Dutch physician and philosopher—156 Locke, John (1632-1704)—Eng¬ lish philosopher and econo¬

mist—155, 158, 160, 161-62, 164

Louis XIV (1638-1715)—King of France (1643-1715)—71

Loustalot, Elisie (1762-1790)— French journalist, democrat, took part in the French Re¬ volution, a Jacobin—103 Lycurgus —legendary law-giver;

tradition agrees in placing him in 9th century B.C.—150, 151


Malebranche, Nicolas de (1638- 1715)—French philosopher— 155, 157, 160, 161 Mandeville, Bernard de (1670- 17331—English democratic writer, moralist and econo¬ mist—162

Marat, Jean Paul (1743-1793)— leading figure in the French Revolution, prominent Jaco¬ bin—102

Marbach, Oswald (1810-1890) — German writer and poet, au¬ thor of adaptations of German medieval epics and publisher of German Volksbiicher (popular books)—202 Marmontel, Jean Francois (1723- 1799)—French writer, repre¬ sentative of the moderate wing of the Enlighteners, member of the Paris Academy of Sciences from 1763—179 Martin du Nord, Nicolas Ferdi¬ nand Marie Louis Joseph (1790-1847)—French law¬ yer and politician, Minister of Justice and Cults during the July monarchy since 1840—143


Marx, Karl (1818-1883)—13,

109, 132

Menzel, Wolfgang (1798-1873)— German conservative writer and literary critic—191 Miltiades (c. 550 or 540-489 B.C.)—Athenian general and statesman during the Greco- Persian wars—151 Moliire (real name: Jean Bapti¬ ste Poquelin) (1622-1673) — French dramatist—69 Monier de la Sizeranne, Paul Jean Ange Henri, comte (1797-1878)—French writer and dramatist—93 Monteil (Montheil), Amans Ale¬ xis (1769-1850)—French his¬ torian—88

Montyon, Antoine Jean Baptiste Robert Auget, Baron de (1733-18201—French philan¬ thropist, one of the sponsors of “Virtue Prize”—235


Napoleon I Bonaparte (1769- 18211—Emperor of the French (1804-14 and 1815) — 102, 112, 153-54 Nauwerck, Karl Ludwig Theodor (1810-1891)—German jour¬ nalist, Young Hegelian— 22-24

Newton, Sir Isaac (1642-1727) — English physicist, astronomer and mathematician—155


Origen (Latin: Origenes) (c. 185-c. 254)—Christian theo¬ logian, one of the Fathers of the Church—197, 221

Owen, Robert (1771-1858)— British utopian socialist—105, 162, 163, 233


Paalzow, Henriette von (1788- 1847 ^—German writer—27 Parny, Evariste DSsire de Forges, Vicomte de (1753-1814)— French poet—86

Piso, Lucius Calpurnius Carsoni- nus (b. 101 B.C.)—Roman consul in 58 B.C., supporter of Julius Caesar—151 Planck, Karl Christian (1819- 1880) —German Protestant theologian, philosopher—128 Plato (c. 427-c. 347 B.C.) — Greek philosopher—222 Priestley, Joseph (1733-18041— English chemist and philos¬ opher, public figure—160 Proudhon, Pierre Joseph (1809- 1865)—French writer, eco¬ nomist and sociologist, one of the fathers of anarchism— 30-45, 48, 49, 50-68, 194


Reichardt, Carl Ernst —bookbin¬ der in Berlin, follower of Bruno Bauer, contributor to the Allgemeine Liter at ur-Zei- tung —14, 16, 48, 98 Ricardo, David (1772-1823)— English economist—41, 42 Riesser, Gabriel (1806-1863) — German journalist of Jewish descent, advocate of equality of the Jews—119, 120, 122, 141

Robespierre, Maximilien Francois Marie Isidore de (1758-


1794)—leading figure in the French Revolution, leader of the Jacobins, head of the revolutionary government (1793-94)—148, 130, 152

Robinet, Jean Baptiste RenS (1735-1820)—French philo¬ sopher—161

Rohmer, Friedrich (1814- 1856)—German philosopher— 261

Rohmer, Theodor (1820-1856) — German journalist, F. Roh¬ mer’s brother—261

Rotteck, Carl Wenzeslaus Redec¬ ker von (1775-1840)—Ger¬ man historian and liberal poli¬ tician—152

Roux, Jacques (1752-1794) — prominent figure in the French Revolution; one of the leaders of the revolutionary plebeian trend ( Enrages ) — 148

Roux-Lavergne, Pierre Cilestin (1802-1874)—French histo¬ rian and philosopher—148

Ruge, Arnold (1802-1880) — German radical journalist and philosopher, Young Hegeli¬ an—192

Russell, John Russell 1st Earl of (1792-1878)—Enelish states¬ man, Whig leader, Prime Minister (1846-52 and 1865- 66), Foreign Secretary (1852- 53 and 1859-65)—20 S

Sack, Karl Heinrich (1789- 1875)—German Protestant theologian, professor in Bonn, advocate of religious orthodo¬ xy—251

Saint-Just, Antoine Louis Lton de Richebourg de (1767-1794)—

prominent figure in the French Revolution, a Jacobin leader—150-51

Saint-Simon, Claude Henri de Rouvroy, Comte de (1760- 1825)—French utopian socia¬ list—41

Say, Jean Baptiste (1767-1832) — French economist, one of the founders of the “three produc¬ tion factors” theory (an apo¬ logy of capitalist exploita¬ tion)—41

Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von (1775-1854)— German philosopher—119.191 Schiller, Johann Christoph Fried¬ rich von (1759-1805)— Ger¬ man poet, dramatist, historian and philosopher—251 Shakespeare, William (1564- 1616)—English poet and dramatist—89

Sieyes. Emmanuel Joseph (1748- 1836)—leading figure in the French Revolution, abbot, deputy to the Convention, moderate constitutionalist—41 Sismondi, fean Charles Leonard Simonde de (1773-1842)— Swiss economist, representa¬ tive of economic romantic¬ ism—42

Smith, Adam (1723-1 790)—Brit¬ ish economist—41, 42, 62 Spinoza, (Baruch or Benedictus) de (1632-1677)—Dutch phi¬ losopher—155, 157, 160, 161, 163. 169. 171, 172 Stein, Heinrich Friedrich Karl, Baron vom und zum (1757- 1831)—Prussian statesman, held various posts in the gov¬ ernment (1804-08), initiator of moderate reforms—15


Stein, Lorenz von (1815-1890) — German lawyer and historian, author of works on the social¬ ist movement, supporter of “social monarch/'—167 Strauss, David Friedrich (1808- 1874)—German philosopher and writer, Young Hegelian— 109, 128, 170, 177 Sue, Eugine Marie Joseph (1804- 1857)—French writer, author of sentimental social novels— 69-72, 77, 78, 82, 83, 84, 86, 88, 92, 93, 95, 203, 204, 209, 223-25, 227-32, 233-37, 244, 250-52

Szeliga —see Zychlinski, Franz T

Tocqueville, Alexis Charles Henri Maurice Clerel de (1805- 1859)—French liberal histor¬ ian and politician—232 Tristan, Flora Celestine Thirhe Henriette (1803-1844) —

French authoress, proponent of utopian socialism—25-26, 234


Vidocq, Francois Eugene (1775- 1857)—French secret police agent, presumed author of Memoirs', his name was used to denote a cunning sleuth and rogue—92, 202 Virgil, Polydore (c. 1470-

1555)—English historian of Italian descent—89 Volney, Constantin Franqois Chasseboeuf, Comte de (1757- 1820)—French philosopher of the Enlightenment—161 Voltaire, Francois Marie Arouet de (1694-1778)—French phi¬ losopher, writer and historian

of the Enlightenment—156

Voss, Johann Heinrich (1751- 1826)—German poet, transla¬ tor of works by Homer, Virgil and other ancient poets— 236


Watt, James (1736-1819)—Scot¬ tish engineer, inventor of the steam-engine—186

Weil, Carl (1806-1878)—Ger¬ man liberal journalist, editor of Konstitutionelle Jahrbiicher (1842-46); from 1851 official in Austria—201

Weill, Alexander (1811-1899) — German democratic journalist, in the 1840s emigrated to France, contributed to Ger¬ man and French newspa¬ pers—182

Welcker, Carl Theodor (1790- 1869)—German lawyer, libe¬ ral journalist, Landtag deputy in Baden—152

Wolff, Christian, Freiherr von (1679-1754)—German philo¬ sopher, naturalist, economist and jurist—84


Zerrleder —presumed pseudonym of Bruno Bauer—180-81

Zychlinski, Franz Zychlin von (1816-1900)—Prussian offi- cer, Young Hegelian, contri¬ buted to periodicals published by B. Bauer under the pseu¬ donym of Szeliga—12, 68-71, 75-97, 108, 201, 202, 205-09, 218, 220, 224, 230, 236, 237, 240, 243, 250, 258, 259


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