MARX’S CONCEPT OF MAN, by Erich Fromm (with a translation from Marx’s Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts by T. B. Bottomore). Frederick Ungar, New York, 1961. 260 pp.
Hearing the old Lutheran chorals in a Bach oratorio, one is astonished to have quite a new experience as the richness of different contrapuntal textures unfolds. So one is pleased to find the ‘familiar ideas of Marx exposed by the author of Man for Himself, The Sane Society, and The Art of Loving, in the light of twentieth-century insights. Fromm uses the very words of the young Marx (and adds 100 pages of a long-forgotten manuscript which has not been accessible to English readers for a long time), but he relates them to the experience of a modern psychologist and philosopher on the one hand and to the tradition of non-conformist thought of the past and of non-Western cultures on the other hand. He sees Marx as one in the long series of mystics and existentialists from “prophetic messianism, Christian chiliastic sectarians, thirteenth-century Thomism, Renaissance utopianism and eighteenth-century Enlightenment,” to Kierkegaard and Zen Buddhism.
Were it merely for the pleasurable experience of relating these cross-c...
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