Bulletin of the Marx Memorial Library



Bulletin of the Marx Memorial Library (1993), 118, (1), 9–20.


ANNUAL MARX MEMORIAL LECTURE FREDERICK ENGELS IN MANCHESTER By RUTH and EDDIE FROW F rederick Engels was twenty four years old when he wrote his first book, The Condition of the Working Class in England. It is one of the founding texts of Scientific Socialism and it shows that Capitalism is a transient social system and that its grave diggers are the working class. The first edition was in German in 1845. One hundred years ago it was first published in London in an English edition. Since then it has never been out of print. It has been read by class conscious workers, by students and scholars and is spite of all attempts to rubbish it by those whom Marx called the hired prize fighters of capitalism it remains an indispensible work and a landmark in socialist thought. The book was written before Marx and Engels began their close friendship. But they had met in Berlin where both of them inbibed dialectics, the revolutionary soul of scientific socialism from the Young Hegelians. Engels wrote a poem in those early years called, The Insolently Threatened Yet Miraculously Rescued Bible in which he wrote a character sketch of Marx: "Who runs up nen with wild impetuosity? A swarthy chap of Trier, a marked monstrosity, He neither hops nor skips, but moves in leaps and bounds, Raving aloud as if to seize and then pull down To earth the spacious tent of heaven up on high. He opens wide his arms and reached for the sky. 9

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