Marx's Mathematical Manuscripts 1881

Publisher’s Note

Written: August, 1881;
Source: Marx's Mathematical Manuscripts, New Park Publications, 1983;
First published: in Russian translation, in Pod znamenem marksizma, 1933.

The major part of this volume has been translated from Karl Marx, Mathematicheskie Rokopsii, edited by Professor S.A. Yanovskaya, Moscow 1968 (referred to in this volume as Yanovskaya, 1968). This contained the first publication of Marx’s mathematical writings in their original form, alognside Russian translation. (Russian translation of parts of these manuscripts had appeared in 1933.) We have included the first English translation of Part I of the Russian edition, comprimising the more or less finished manuscripts left by Marx on the differential calculus, and earlier draft of these. We have not translated Part II of the 1968 volume, which consisted of extracts from and comments on the mathematical books which Marx had studied. Professor Yanavoskaya, who had worked on these manuscripts since 1930, died just before the book appeared. We include a translation of her preface, together with six Appendices, and Notes to Part I.

In addition, we include the following:

a) extracts from two letters from Engels to Marx and one from Marx to Engels, discussing these writings;

b) a review of Yanovskaya, 1968, translated from the Russian, by the Soviet mathematician E. Kol’man, who died in Sweden in 1979, and who had also been associated with these manuscripts since their first transcription;

c) an article by Yanovskaya and Kol’man on ‘Hegel and Mathematics’, which appeared in 1931 in the journal Pod znamenem markzisma. This has been translated from the version which appeared in the German magazine Unter dem Banner des marxismus;

d) an essay on ‘Hegel, Marx and the Calculus’ written for this volume by Cyril Smith.

The Material from Yanovskaya 1968 has been translated by C. Aronson and M. Meo, who are also responsible for translating the review by E. Kol’man.

The letters between Marx and Engels, and the article by Yanovskaya and Kol’man, are translated by R. A. Archer.