Communist Manifesto

Influences

Marx and Engels’ political influences were wide-ranging, reacting to and taking inspiration from German idealist philosophy, French socialism, and English and Scottish political economy. The Communist Manifesto also takes influence from literature. In Jacques Derrida’s work, Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International, he uses Shakespeare’s Hamlet to frame a discussion of the history of the International, showing, in the process, the influence that Shakespeare’s work had on Marx and Engel’s writing.[18] In his essay, “Big Leagues: Specters of Milton and Republican International Justice between Shakespeare and Marx,” Christopher N. Warren makes the case that English poet John Milton also had a substantial influence on Marx and Engel’s work.[19] Historians of 19th-century reading habits have confirmed that Marx and Engels would have read these authors, and it is known that Marx loved Shakespeare, in particular.[20][21][22] Milton, Warren argues, also shows a notable influence on The Communist Manifesto: “Looking back on Milton’s era, Marx saw a historical dialectic founded on inspiration in which freedom of the press, republicanism, and revolution were closely joined.”[23] Milton’s republicanism, Warren continues, served as "a useful, if unlikely, bridge" as Marx and Engels sought to forge a revolutionary international coalition.


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