Marx's London


Marx in London: An Illustrated Guide

By Asa Briggs & John Callow

Published by Lawrence & Wishart, in association with the Marx Memorial Library

Revised edition, 2008

110 pages, £8.99

Australians visit London in their thousands every year, but the vast majority of us probably walk the streets of the British capital unaware that we are following in the footsteps of the founder of modern socialism, Karl Marx.

Fleeing continental Europe after the failure of the 1848 revolutions, Marx lived in London from 1849 until his death in 1883, and it was there that he wrote the great works on political economy on which his fame principally rests.

The first edition of this guide, written by the eminent social historian Asa Briggs, was published in 1982, and now a revised and updated version has been published with the assistance of John Callow, the chief librarian of the Marx Memorial Library.

The guide interweaves the social history of London with the story of Marx's life and work, and with the aid of numerous maps and photographs guides the reader through the places most associated with Marx: Soho, where he lived on the edge of poverty in the early 1850s; the British Museum, where he did the research for his masterpiece, Capital; Hampstead Heath, where the Marx family regularly escaped the smoke and grime of the city on Sunday afternoons; Covent Garden, scene of the meetings of the First International; and Highgate Cemetery, the site of Marx's tomb and a place of pilgrimage for socialists the world over.

If you're visiting London in the near future, give the usual tourist traps a miss and get along to the Marx Memorial Library in Clerkenwell. You can see the tiny office where Lenin edited the newspaper Iskra in 1902-3, pick up a copy of this excellent guide for £8.99 and then trace the footsteps of Marx, Engels and Lenin. It will be cheaper than the Tower of London, and good for you as well.

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