This book examines the life and works of Friedrich Engels during the decade before he entered a political partnership with Karl Marx. It takes a thematic approach in three substantial chapters: Imagination, Observation, and Vocation. Throughout, the reader sees the world from Engels’s perspective, not knowing how his story will turn out. This approach reveals the multifaceted and ambitious character of young Friedrich’s achievements from age sixteen till just turning twenty-five. At the time that he accepted Marx’s invitation to co-author a short political satire, Engels was far better known and much more accomplished. He had published many more articles on far more subjects, in both German and English, than Marx had managed. Moreover, he had written a critique of political economy from a perspective unique in the German context, and published his own pioneering and substantial study of working class conditions in an industrializing economy. Offering an innovative approach to a largely neglected period of Engels’s life before meeting Marx, Carver upends standard narratives in existing biographical studies of Engels to reveal him as an important figure not just in relation to his more famous collaborator, but a key voice in the liberal-democratic, constitutional and nation-building revolutionism of the 1830s and 1840s.
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