Excerpt from discussion on Hegelian Marxism from <owner-marxism-theory@lists.econ.utah.edu>

From: Ralph Dumain

I'm forwarding a request I received from a grad. student who wants guidance on studying the "golden thread" of Hegelian Marxism, its antecendents and descendants. He's interested in a series of texts to read, a list of Hegelian Marxists would be helpful.

This is a simple enough req uest, but I'm undecided which of the figures of "Western Marxism" could be characterized as Hegelian in some sense, which not.

So here's how I break down my response. Please help me out here.

  1. There is certainly a large overlap between Hegelian and Western Marxism (Yes, I hate these big categories, too, but what can I do?) Are there any guides or anthologies of Hegelian Marxism? If not, there must be several intros to and anthologies of Western Marxism by now. I remember an anthology by Gottlieb (?), not the best, but usable. What else is out there?
  2. One usually traces Western Marxism back to Lukacs and Korsch, but there is a whole prehistory of Western Marxism with a lot of Hegelianism in it. See Russell Jacoby's out-of-print but very informative The Dialectic of Defeat.
  3. My next instinct is to divide "Hegelian Marxism" into subcategories. One "branch", perhaps less known to cultural people, are Hegelian readings of Marx's Capital, including what is now called sometimes the "new dialectics". This is also linked to studies of Marx's method and philosophy of science. There is a whole Japanese school including Uchida. I'm not sure if Michael Postone's Time, Labor, and Domination fits into this category or not, but it's an important book nonetheless. There is also Murray E.G. Smith (?), Patrick Murray, Tony Smith, and others I can't remember off-hand.
  4. This group overlaps with the previous one, but there are also the philosophical and cultural interpreters of Hegelian Marxism. Again, I foget who is "hegelian" and who is "western", but here's a list of a few names, some of which I've forgotten whether there is a Hegelian element intermixed:

Clearly, this pauper's broth of names is an inadequate answer to this fellow's question, but the old gray matter ain't what she used to be. Could somebody help to flesh out this picture?

From: Hans Despain

Ralph, I think you have the most important Hegelian Marxists, I don't know of any guide to Hegelian Marxism, but there are many to Western Marxism, Perry Anderson's is one I would recommend.

But you should also include Althusser, especially the newer book of his early writings, The Spectre of Hegel. Also Ilyenkov's work on dialectics is important. And the (anti-)Hegelian Italian school should be included, e.g. Della Volpean, Colletti. Less we forget Hyppolite and Lichtheim.

If there is a 'golden thread' to be found, one must begin with the Young Hegelians themselves, as you know, especially (1) Feuerbach (2) Bauer, (3) Stirner. There are a number of introductory books to the Young Hegelians, my favoriate is still Hooks, but Mclellan is very good read.


From: Hans Despain

Yes Anderson's Considerations on Western Marxism. But there is also Kevin Anderson's Lenin, Hegel & Western Marxism, University of Illinois Press, 1995.

There is lots of interesting Italian Hegelians, most I would say are anti-Hegelian, they tend to focus on Marx's critical writings of Hegel, Colletti has Marx returning to Kant. But of course they are very much rehearsed in Hegelianism, so there are certainly positive influences, just as there is in Marx himself. Speaking of Italian (pro-)Hegelians there is an excellent book titled History & Interpretation of the Logic of Hegel Edwin Mellen Press, 199? by Giacomo Rinaldi, which has a number of pages which survey Marxian contributions and debates. This book is very pricey at $120, it is over 500 pages, but still. It is a very useful reference book.

With respect to Young Hegelians, Brazzil's is a very good survey, there is also a new book Marx, the Young Hegelians & the Origins of Radical Social Theory Cambridge University Press, Breckman, Warren, 1999. this I have not read. And a new Anthology, Young Hegelians, Prometheus Books, ed. S. Gascon, 1999. which I have not yet seen. Also (the Althusserian) Joseph McCarney has a new book to be published Hegel on History: Routledge Philosophy Guidebook, 1999. As far as I know this is still not published.

On the new side of things which I have not yet seen there is also Mark Meaney's Capital As Organic Unity: The Role of Hegel's 'Science of Logic' in Marx's 'Grundrisse' Humanities Press Internationl, 1998.

If I were to put together a short reading list, I would start with the Preface, the first chapter (intro?) and the chapter of the "Contradiction between Faith and Love" of Feuerbach's Essence of Christianity; Marx's Introduction to a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right; Engel's Feuerbach; Ivan Soll's An Introduction to Hegel's Metaphysics; one of the books on the Young Hegelians, e.g. Hook's; Elie Kedourie's Hegel & Marx, Introductory Lectures which is very accessible; Lukacs's History and Class Consciousness; the Norman/Sayer debate of Dialectic in Hegel and Marx (you reviewed this a number of years ago on one of the marxist lists); and finish up with Tony Smith's Logic of Marx's Capital. If one wanted to include Hegel himself, I would say his Philosophy of History which although is the most widely and easily critiqued, it remains his most accessible work to get a feel for what he is up to, or the Philosophy of Right which is much more difficult to understand what he is up to.

A list of new dialectics will have to wait, for I have run out of time, but I do believe it to be the most important Hegelian Marxist work being done currently, and much more accessible then Bhaskarian dialectics, which is also within the Hegelian/Marxist tradition.


From: James Farmelant

I would that if one is interested in exploring the Hegelian roots of Marxism one wold want to look at Sidney Hook's From Hegel To Marx, Herbert Marcuse's Reason and Revolution, and Kojeve's Introduction to the Reading of Hegel. Also, Lukacs' The Young Hegel. Among the French Kojeve as already mentioned and also Jean Hyppolite and Jean Wahl did much to interest French intellectuals (such as Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and also the young Althusser) in Hegel and the Hegelian roots of Marxism.

As far as the Italians are concerned, Gramsci derived considerable sustenance from Benedetto Croce and Giovanni Gentile who were two leading Italian Hegelians. The Italian anti-Hegelian school is also of considerable interest including Galvano della Volpe (i.e. Logic as a Positive Science), Luscio Colletti who has already been mentioned and Sebastiano Timpanaro, On Materialism, which critiqued both Hegelian and Althusserian varieties of Western Marxism.

Jim Farmelant

Hegel-by-HyperText Home Page @ marxists.org