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The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884), was a provocative and profoundly influential critique of the Victorian nuclear family. Engels argued that the traditional monogamous household was in fact a recent construct, closely bound up with capitalist societies. Under this patriarchal system, women were servants and, effectively, prostitutes. Only Communism would herald the dawn of communal living and a new sexual freedom and, in turn, the role of the state would become superfluous.
Presents the text of the German Socialist's classic work on the structure of primitive society and early civilization
Presents the text of the German Socialist's classic work on the structure of primitive society and early civilization
The Origin of The Family Private Property and The State by Frederick Engels. Translated By Ernest Untermann. The following chapters are, in a certain sense, executing a bequest. It was no less a man than Karl Marx who had reserved to himself the privilege of displaying the results of Morgan's investigations in connection with his own materialistic conception of history-which I might call ours within certain limits. He wished thus to elucidate the full meaning of this conception. For in America, Morgan had, in a manner, discovered anew the materialistic conception of history, originated by Marx forty years ago. In comparing barbarism and civilization, he had arrived, in the main, at the same results as Marx. And just as "Capital" was zealously plagiarized and persistently passed over in silence by the professional economists in Germany, so Morgan's "Ancient Society" was treated by the spokesmen of "prehistoric" science in England. My work can offer only a meager substitute for that which my departed friend was not destined to accomplish. But in his copious extracts from Morgan, I have critical notes which I herewith reproduce as fully as feasible.
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Marx's theory of history is often regarded as the most enduring and fruitful aspect of his intellectual legacy. His "historical materialism" has been the inspiration for some of the best historical writing in the works of scholars such as Eric Hobsbawm, E.P.Thompson, Rodney Hilton and Robert Brenner. S.H. Rigby establishes Marx's claims about social structure and historical change, discusses their use in his own and his followers' writings, and assesses the validity of his theories. He argues that Marx's social theories were profoundly contradictory and that Marxism has proved most useful when it is seen as a source of questions, concepts and hypotheses rather than as a philosophy of historical development.
The project to publish the works of Marx and Engels continues, and this book, published in 1984, puts together a comprehensive bibliography of their works either written in or translated into English, including books, monographs, articles, chapters and doctoral dissertations, together with the works of their interpreters. The inclusion of the secondary literature makes this a particularly valuable bibliography, and contributes greatly to the understanding of the thought of Marx and Engels.

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