Marx-Engels Correspondence 1884

Engels to Karl Kautsky
In Zurich


Published: Gesamtausgabe, International Publishers, 1942;
Transcribed: Sally Ryan;
HTML Markup: Sally Ryan.

London, 19 July, 1884

That the Neue Zeit is to come to an end is no misfortune for the Party. It is becoming more and more apparent that the great majority of the literary Party people in Germany belong to the opportunists and cautious goers who, however disagreeable the Socialist Law may be to them from a pecuniary point of view, feel themselves quite in the right atmosphere under it from the literary point of view; they can express themselves quite openly--we are prevented from giving them one in the eye. Hence the mere task of filling a journal of this kind every month demands very great tolerance, which results in its being gradually overrun with philanthropy, humanitarianism, sentimentality and whatever all the anti-revolutionary vices of the Freiwalds, Quarcks, Schippels, Rosuses [note: collaborators in Neue Zeit], etc. are called. People who do not want to learn anything fundamentally and only make literature about literature and incidentally out of literature (nine-tenths of present-day German writing is writing about other writing), naturally achieve more printed pages per annum than those who grind at something and only want to write about other books when: (1) they have mastered these other books and (2) there is something in them worth the trouble. The preponderance of these former gentlemen which has been produced by the Socialist Law in the literature printed in Germany is inevitable while the Law lasts. Against it we have in the literature published abroad a weapon which strikes in a totally different manner.