Saturday, November 25, 2006

Marx's bottom

If you're not already thinking of Marx as an eccentric and lovable uncle I hope this will do the trick...

Taken from Francis Wheen's Marx's Dad Kapital: A Biography

'By the end of 1865 Das Kapital was a manuscript of 1,200 pages, a blotted mess of crossings-out and indecipherable squiggles. On New Year's Day 1866 he sat down to make a fair copy, "licking the infant clean after long birth pangs". It took just over a year. Even liver trouble and carbuncles couldn't thwart him: he wrote the last few pages standing at his desk when an eruption of boils on the bottom made sitting too painful. Engel's experienced eye immediately spotted certain passages in the text where the carbuncles had left their mark, and Marx agreed that they might have given the prose a rather livid hue. "At all events, I hope the bourgeoisie will remember my carbuncles until their dying day," he cursed. "What swine they are!" The boils disappeared as soon as he complted the last page. "I always had the feeling," Engels told him, "that that damn book, which you have been carrying for so long, was at the bottom of your misfortune, and you would and could never extricate yourself until you had got it off your back." Feeling as voraciously fit as 500 hogs", Marx set off for Hamburg in April 1867 to deliver the manuscript and oversee its printing...'

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