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Main Currents of Marxism


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About the Author

Leszek Kolakowski was the first recipient of the million-dollar John W. Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and he is the recipient of the 2007 Jerusalem Prize. He lives in Oxford, England. P. S. Falla is an English translator who has brought books over from many languages including French and Polish.


With a thoroughness and lucidity unparalleled in any other single tome, this book-first written in Polish in three volumes between 1968 and 1976-addresses the development, practice, and theorists concerned with Marxism, from its origins through the 20th century. Kolakowski, who currently lives in Oxford, England, was the first winner of the Library of Congress John W. Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities and Social Sciences. He demonstrates here that that achievement is as much for clarity as for comprehensiveness, as he details how Karl Marx's ideas came to be and caught fire and how various thinkers and cultures have interpreted the bases of those theories. "Marxism," Kolakowski claims, "has been the greatest fantasy" of the 20th century, yet it is also a way of understanding both the materialism of the present age and of civilization throughout history. Because of the book's daunting size, students may want to consider only parts of the whole, but scholars will be grateful to have this review of what now may seem a commonplace theory, provided in limber and consistent narrative that traces from Plotinus to Eckhart and Hegel, Marx himself, and beyond, to Labriola, the Bolsheviks, the Soviet state, the Frankfurt School, and Mao. For all collections.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"Considered the definitive work on the subject" (The New York Times), Main Currents of Marxism is now in one paperback volume. "A monument of modern humanistic scholarship... It will surely not be superseded." New York Review of Books "Leszek Kolokowki is one of the world's greatest living political philosophers and historians of ideas... Norton have reissued his magnum opus, Main Currents of Marxism, in a handsome single volume." Timothy Garton Ash, Books of the Year, The Times Literary Supplement "...indispensable... an unmatched encyclopaedia of a major passage in Western intellectual history, but the enduring interest of this masterly volume does not come chiefly from the mass of useful information it provides. Instead, it lies in Kolokowski's devastating assessment of Marx's thought." John Gray, The Times Higher Education Supplement"

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