Marx’s ‘Bonn Notebooks’ in Context

Reconsidering the Relationship between Bruno Bauer and Karl Marx between 1839 and 1842

In: Historical Materialism
Kaan Kangal Department of Philosophy, Nanjing University Nanjing, Qixia District, Jiangsu Province China

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The following is a critical reconstruction of the collaboration between Bauer and Marx between 1839 and 1842. The turbulences in the period in question reveal themselves in Marx’s thought as well as in his relationship with Bruno Bauer. Correspondingly, Marx’s detours, false paths, dead ends and abandoned work are therefore made the focus of this study. The ambivalent initial relations between the two of them, which both made their collaboration possible and hindered it, clearly go back further than 1841, when Bauer was not yet an atheist and was still a proponent of church doctrine. This was the Bruno Bauer that Marx had come to know in the Doctor’s Club. We then meet Bauer the atheist at the end of 1839 or perhaps the beginning of 1840, as he was planning a comprehensive attack on orthodox theology and wanted Marx to fight on his side. This attack continued in Bauer’s Trumpet and in Hegel’s Doctrine.

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