The Young Karl Marx’ Spinoza notebook

Contribute by: Ludovica Filieri, Ph.D. Candidate University of Verona.

Karl Marx, Spinoza Notebook, edited by Ludovica Filieri, Bompiani, Milano 2022

Marx’s direct references to Spinoza appear in the works of the Trier philosopher only sporadically; Marx cites him alongside the other great authors of the tradition. However, Spinoza’s influence on Marx, as recent studies and research have shown, is decisive from the years of his youth. This relationship must be reconstructed both historically, philologically and theoretically from the reading and commentary that Marx wrote in 1841 of Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise. Thus, in this volume we find two of the greatest European thinkers compared: the young Marx at the decisive moment of his intellectual and political formation meets Spinoza. Spinoza Notebook is the collection of the notes and annotations that in 1841 the young Karl Marx devoted to the study of Baruch Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise and Letters. This volume not only represents Marx’s direct testimony to Marx’s in-depth study of the Dutch philosopher’s thought, but more importantly it gives evidence of the influence that Spinozian philosophy had on the maturation of Marx’s own philosophical-political reflection. Through the study of the Dutchman’s political thought in Marx germinates the concept of radical democracy that would mature in his later reflection, just as he develops the critique against the Jewish religion and the affirmation of freedom of expression. These are all Spinozian themes, which Marx inherits and develops following in the footsteps of Spinozian theoresis. And from this valuable evidence it is possible to explain and discuss the extensive critical-philosophical production that has been produced around their relationship in contemporary thinking. Because of the topicality and relevance that these studies have in the contemporary philosophical scene, the idea of this new expanded edition: in fact, it includes both the translated Marxian fragments of the Theological-Political Treatise, previously published by Bollati Boringhieri, and also those of theLetters, previously unpublished in Italy.