A work of incalculable historical and cultural significance, The First Writings of Karl Marx is the first complete single-volume edition of Karl Marx’s doctoral dissertation to appear in English. This collection includes the full text of Marx’s dissertation, Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature, as well as a sampling of his correspondence from the same period (1836-1841), and selections from the philosophical notebooks he prepared in advance of the dissertation. Taken together, these materials comprise the earliest period of Marx’s intellectual life, and offer a detailed portrait of the genesis of his philosophical worldview. The Marx who emerges in these writings is a precocious, fiercely passionate student who, at the University of Berlin, found himself in the midst of the most fertile and contentious philosophical scene in mid-19th century Europe. Despite their youthfulness, these writings are lit with ambition, and are the first major works of a man who would go on to change the course of history.
Paul M. Schafer is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Xavier University of Louisiana. He maintains an active interest in the History of Philosophy, in particular in the area of Post-Kantian European thought. He received his Ph.D. from DePaul University.