Marx's Literary Style (Paperback)

Marx's Literary Style By Ludovico Silva Cover Image
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Marx’s Literary Style argues that a true understanding of Marx’s work requires a careful study of his literary choices

In Marx’s Literary Style, the Venezuelan poet and philosopher Ludovico Silva argues that much of the confusion around Marx’s work results from a failure to understand his literary mode of expression.
Through meticulous readings of key passages in Marx’s oeuvre, Silva isolates the key elements of his style: his search for an “architectonic” unity at the level of the text, his capacity to express himself dialectically at the level of the sentence, and, above all, his great gift for metaphor.
Silva’s unique sensitivity to Marx’s literary choices allows him to illuminate a number of terms that have been persistently, and fatefully, misunderstood by many of Marx’s most influential readers, including alienation, reflection, and base and superstructure. At the heart of Silva’s book is his contention that we we cannot hope to understand Marx if we treat him as a scientist, a philosopher, or a literary writer, when he was in fact all three at once.

Originally published in 1971, this is a key work by one of the most important Latin American Marxists of the twentieth century. This edition, which marks the first appearance of one of Silva’s works in English, features an introduction by Alberto Toscano.

About the Author

A poet, essayist, and philosopher in the Marxist tradition, Ludovico Silva Michelena (1937-1988) was one of the most important Venezuelan intellectuals of the twentieth century. His books include La plusvalía ideológica (Ideological Surplus-Value) and Anti-manual para uso de marxistas, marxólogos y marxianos (Anti-Handbook for Marxists, Marxologists, and Marxians).

Praise For…

"We've waited a long time for an English-language edition of this brilliant, agenda-setting work. The book is indispensable. To read it is to learn how inadequate it is to describe any metaphor - and certainly any of Marx's - as "mere" ever again."
—China Miéville

"Silva demonstrates with wonderful clarity that Marx's literary style - especially his metaphors and his irony - is not merely ornamental but absolutely essential to his argument."
—Michael Hardt, author of The Subversive Seventies

"In this lively, compact, and refreshingly unpretentious study, Ludovico Silva shows how attention to Marx's style not only enhances our pleasure in reading him, but also sharpens our theoretical understanding of his texts. Silva's early analysis of Marx's way of making his thinking "plastically perceived" through the rhythm, tone, and careful patterning of his writing helps us more clearly distinguish Marx's metaphors from his concepts, and in doing so, better understand the dialectical play between them. Marx's Literary Style is a recovered classic."
—Sianne Ngai, author of Theory of the Gimmick: Aesthetic Judgment and Capitalist Form

"Translated with gusto by Paco Brito Núñez, to whose initiative anglophone readers owe a debt of gratitude, Marx's Literary Style is one of those short little books that packs a punch far in excess of its diminutive size...It is impossible to read Marx's Literary Style and not emerge with a very different understanding of the literary to that with which one began."
—Daniel Hartley, Jacobin

"In 1971 the little booklet of a Venezuelan author, Ludovico Silva, Marx, appeared, published in Italian in 1973 by Bompiani. I believe it can no longer be found and it would be worthwhile to reprint it. Referring to the history of Marx's literary formation (few know that he also wrote poems, albeit very bad ones, in the opinion of the few who have read them), Silva meticulously analyzed all of Marx's work."
—Umberto Eco

"Silva's long-overdue English debut offers another view on the full, resonant brilliance of Marx's work: how masterfully he harmonized modes of language that ranged from positivist to poetic, and how urgently he sought to identify what hinders our realizing the world of which he dreamed."
—Sam Russek, Protean Magazine

"Silva's book, rich with insight regarding Marx's prose, also provides insight into the nature of Marx's economic and political analysis. The reader is able to think dialogically and dialectically along with him. At the same time, he helps the reader do the same with Marx, who Silva convincingly argues is a great stylist."
—Michael Principe, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books

Product Details
ISBN: 9781839765537
ISBN-10: 1839765534
Publisher: Verso
Publication Date: January 24th, 2023
Pages: 128
Language: English