Marx Engels on Art and Literature

On Thomas More


From: Frederick Engels, Foreign Policy on Russian Tsardom;
Source: Marx Engels On Literature and Art, Moscow 1976;
Transcribed: by Andy Blunden.

In his work on Thomas More, Karl Kautsky has demonstrated how 15th- and 16th-century “humanism,” the first form of the bourgeois Enlightenment, subsequently developed into Catholic Jesuitry. In precisely the same way, we see here its second, fully mature form in the 18th century develop into modern Jesuitry, Russian diplomacy. This sudden change into the opposite, this ultimate arrival at a point diametrically opposed to the starting point, is the natural and inevitable fate of all historical movements which lack a clear idea of their origins and the conditions of their existence and therefore set themselves totally illusory goals. They are unmercifully chastised by the “irony of history.”