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Preliminary Methodological Remarks

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Chapter Summary

The texts to be examined in this chapter are situated in a period that is very precise in its starting date, 1857, when Marx elaborated his overall plan and his first general sketch, but quite vague as to its conclusion. 1875 marks the approximate end of the period relevant here, with the completion of the French edition. Between these two dates, the essential elements of Marx’s masterwork, Capital or the theory of the capitalist mode of production, were developed in a number of successive and comparable versions. It is necessary to distinguish: (1) three successive manuscripts, punctuated by plans that restructure and redefine the problems studied with a view to a projected new version, and (2) three editions of Capital. Genetic’ study is productive only to the extent that the representation of the finished work that inspires it is correct, and likewise the completion or reconstruction that it proposes.

Keywords: French edition; Genetic’ study; Marx’s theory

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