Thursday, March 03, 2005

Review of The Communist Manifesto

Between the ages of 12 and 15 i read three books that may well have warped me permanently into the person that i am today (for good or ill): the third was Being and Nothingness by Sartre; the second, due to my Aunt May's cryptic reference to an excommunicated Catholic was Teilhard de Chardin's The Phenomenology of Man. I make no claim to have understood anything from these books. I read them as much to please my adolescent ego (that i could read such things) as i did out of any genuine curiosity for such lofty thinking. But the first one i read i did understand a fair amount and still recall the pleasure of the text - the delicious (romantic, 19th Century, almost-Victorian) prose: The Communist Manifesto. I had been surprised to find the slim volume in my father's collection and i knew enough to know that there was something "forbidden" about this wee book. It was a quick read and i certainly missed the greater part of what it was about. But i got a sense of something great being written of. It would be ten years before i returned to that book and begin, as an adult, to reflect critically on the implications of those eloquent and passionate words. Judy Rebick has written a review of the Communist Manifesto which has been published as part of Penguin's "Great Ideas" series.

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