Lachlan Brown on Fri, 20 Jul 2001 17:59:56 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Fw: Jenny + Karl 4ever together

Yes, a critique of Marx must include the personal and the private Karl Marx
inasmuch as this may be known. A feminist critique of Marx begins with the
letters of Jenny to Karl. The three letters below, prelude, consumation,
and the mudane, everyday passion of bills, as well as revolution in Europe,
which severely disrupted the completion of Das Capital illustrate the
imaginary, political and governmental economies the work aspired (and
failed) to accommodate.

Snoop Jenny's mail to Karl. Then read the book. Be revolutionary in all
things, but begin by being revolutionaries in lurve. Surely Hollywood needs
the script?


Sent: Thu, 12 Jul 2001 06:02:32 +0800
Subject: Jenny Marx

for Thirdnet, the 'remembering the book' series.

'Revolutionaries are more beautiful' 

Jenny's letters to Karl:

1. 'That is why I often remind you of external matters, of life and
reality, instead of clinging wholly, as you can do so well, to the world of
love...' . 1839

2. 'now you get yourself involved in politics too. That is indeed the most
risky thing of all... . My Little Man of the Railways.' Aug 10 1841

3. 'If only the great catastrophe did not take place at the very time when
you are finishing off your book.' 1846


My dear and only beloved, 

Sweetheart, are you no longer angry with me, and also not worried about me? I was so very upset when I last wrote, and in such moments I see everything still much blacker and more terrible than it actually is. Forgive me, one and only beloved, for causing you such anxiety, but I was shattered by your doubt of my love and faithfulness. Tell me, Karl, how could you do that, how could you set it down so dryly in writing to me, express a suspicion merely because I was silent somewhat longer than usual, kept longer to myself the sorrow I felt over your letter, over Edgar, indeed over so much that filled my soul with unspeakable misery. I did it only to spare you, and to save myself from becoming upset, a consideration which I owe indeed to you and to my family. 

Oh, Karl, how little you know me, how little you appreciate my position,
and how little you feel where my grief lies, where my heart bleeds. A
girl's love is different from that of a man, it cannot but be different. A
girl, of course, cannot give a man anything but love and herself and her
person, just as she is, quite undivided and for ever. In ordinary
circumstances, too, the girl must find her complete satisfaction in the
man's love, she must forget everything in love. But, Karl, think of my
position, you have no regard for me, you do not trust me. And that I am not
capable of retaining your present romantic youthful love, I have known from
the beginning, and deeply felt, long before it was explained to me so
coldly and wisely and reasonably. Oh, Karl, what makes me miserable is that
what would fill any other girl with inexpressible delight -- your
beautiful, touching, passionate love, the indescribably beautiful things
you say about it, the inspiring creations of your im!  agination -- all
this only causes me anxiety and often reduces me to despair. The more I
were to surrender myself to happiness, the more frightful would my fate be
if your ardent love were to cease and you became cold and withdrawn. 

You see, Karl, concern over the permanence of your love robs me of all
enjoyment. I cannot so fully rejoice at your love, because I no longer
believe myself assured of it; nothing more terrible could happen to me than
that. You see, Karl, that is why I am not so wholly thankful for, so wholly
enchanted by your love, as it really deserves. That is why I often remind
you of external matters, of life and reality, instead of clinging wholly,
as you can do so well, to the world of love, to absorption in it and to a
higher, dearer, spiritual unity with you, and in it forgetting everything
else, finding solace and happiness in that alone. Karl, if you could only
sense my misery you would be milder towards me and not see hideous prose
and mediocrity everywhere, not perceive everywhere want of true love and
depth of feeling. 

Oh, Karl, if only I could rest safe in your love, my head would not burn
so, my heart would not hurt and bleed so. If only I could rest safe for
ever in your heart, Karl, God knows my soul would not think of life and
cold prose. But, my angel, you have no regard for me, you do not trust me,
and your love, for which I would sacrifice everything, everything, I cannot
keep fresh and young. In that thought lies death; once you apprehend it in
my soul, you will have greater consideration for me when I long for
consolation that lies outside your love. I feel so completely how right you
are in everything, but think also of my situation, my inclination to sad
thoughts, just think properly over all that as it is, and you will no
longer be so hard towards me. If only you could be a girl for a little
while and, moreover, such a peculiar one as I am. 

So, sweetheart, since your last letter I have tortured myself with the fear
that for my sake you could become embroiled in a quarrel and then in a
duel. Day and night I saw you wounded, bleeding and ill, and, Karl, to tell
you the whole truth, I was not altogether unhappy in this thought: for I
vividly imagined that you had lost your right hand, and, Karl, I was in a
state of rapture, of bliss, because of that. You see, sweetheart, I thought
that in that case I could really become quite indispensable to you, you
would then always keep me with you and love me. I also thought that then I
could write down all your dear, heavenly ideas and be really useful to you.
All this I imagined so naturally and vividly that in my thoughts I
continually heard your dear voice, your dear words poured down on me and I
listened to every one of them and carefully preserved them for other
people. You see, I am always picturing such things to myself, but then I am
happy, for then I am with you, yo!  urs, wholly yours. If I could only
believe that to be possible, I would be quite satisfied. Dear and only
beloved, write to me soon and tell me that you are well and that you love
me always. But, dear Karl, I must once more talk to you a little seriously.
Tell me, how could you doubt my faithfulness to you? Oh, Karl, to let you
be eclipsed by someone else, not as if I failed to recognise the excellent
qualities in other people and regarded you as unsurpassable, but, Karl, I
love you indeed so inexpressibly, how could I find anything even at all
worthy of love in someone else? Oh, dear Karl, I have never, never been
wanting in any way towards you, yet all the same you do not trust me. But
it is curious that precisely someone was mentioned to you who has hardly
ever been seen in Trier, who cannot be known at all, whereas I have been
often and much seen engaged in lively and cheerful conversation in society
with all kinds of men. I can often be quite cheerful and teasing, I can!
 often joke and carry on a lively conversation with absolute strangers,
things that I cannot do with you. You see, Karl, I could chat and converse
with anyone, but as soon as you merely look at me, I cannot say a word for
nervousness, the blood stops flowing in my veins and my soul trembles. 

Often when I thus suddenly think of you I am dumbstricken and overpowered
with emotion so that not for anything in the world could I utter a word.
Oh, I don't know how it happens, but I get such a queer feeling when I
think of you, and I don't think of you on isolated and special occasions;
no, my whole life and being are but one thought of you. Often things occur
to me that you have said to me or asked me about, and then I am carried
away by indescribably marvellous sensations. And, Karl, when you kissed me,
and pressed me to you and held me fast, and I could no longer breathe for
fear and trembling, and you looked at me so peculiarly, so softly, oh,
sweetheart, you do not know the way you have often looked at me. If you
only knew, dear Karl, what a peculiar feeling I have, I really cannot
describe it to you I sometimes think to myself, too, how nice it will he
when at last I am with you always and you call me your little wife. Surely,
sweetheart, then I shall be able to te!  ll you all that I think, then one
would no longer feel so horribly shy as at present. Dear Karl, it is so
lovely to have such a sweetheart. If you only knew what it is like, you
would not believe that I could ever love anyone else. You, dear sweetheart,
certainly do not remember all the many things you have said to me, when I
come to think of it. Once you said something so nice to me that one can
only say when one is totally in love and thinks one's beloved completely at
one with oneself. You have often said something so lovely, dear Karl, do
you remember? If I had to tell you exactly everything I have been thinking
-- and, my dear rogue, you certainly think I have told you everything
already, but you are very much mistaken -- when I am no longer your
sweetheart, I shall tell you also what one only says when one belongs
wholly to one's beloved. Surely, dear Karl, you will then also tell me
everything and will again look at me so lovingly. That was the most
beautiful thing in!
 the world for me. Oh, my darling, how you looked at me the first time like
that and then quickly looked away, and then looked at me again, and I did
the same, until at last we looked at each other for quite a long time and
very deeply, and could no longer look away. Dearest one, do not be angry
with me any more and write to me also a little tenderly, I am so happy
then. And do not be so much concerned about my health. I often imagine it
to be worse than it is. I really do feel better now than for a long time
past. I have also stopped taking medicine and my appetite, too, is again
very good. I walk a lot in Wettendorfs garden and am quite industrious the
whole day long. But, unfortunately, I can't read anything. If I only knew
of a book which I could understand properly and which could divert me a
little. I often take an hour to read one page and still do not understand
anything. To be sure, sweetheart, I can catch up again even if I get a
little behind at present, you will !  help me to go forward again, and I am
quick in grasping things too. Perhaps you know of some book, but it must be
quite a special kind, a bit learned so that I do not understand everything,
but still manage to understand something as if through a fog, a bit such as
not everyone likes to read; and also no fairy-tales, and no poetry, I can't
bear it. I think it would do me a lot of good if I exercised my mind a bit.
Working with one's hands leaves too much scope to the mind. Dear Karl, only
keep well for my sake. The funny little dear is already living somewhere
else. I am very glad at the change in your.... 


My little wild boar, 

How glad I am that you are happy, and that my letter made you cheerful, and
that you are longing for me, and that you are living in wallpapered rooms,
and that you drank champagne in Cologne, and that there are Hegel clubs
there, and that you have been dreaming, and that, in short, you are mine,
my own sweetheart, my dear wild boar. But for all that there is one thing I
miss: you could have praised me a little for my Greek, and you could have
devoted a little laudatory article to my erudition. But that is just like
you, you Hegeling gentlemen, you don't recognise anything, be it the height
of excellence, if it is not exactly according to your view, and so I must
be modest and rest on my own laurels. Yes, sweetheart, I have still to
rest, alas, and indeed on a feather bed and pillows, and even this little
letter is being sent out into the world from my little bed. 

On Sunday I ventured on a bold excursion into the front rooms -- but it
proved bad for me and now I have to do penance again for it. Schleicher
told me just now that he has had a letter from a young revolutionary, but
that the latter is greatly mistaken in his judgment of his countrymen. He
does not think he can procure either shares or anything else. Ah, dear,
dear sweetheart, now you get yourself involved in politics too. That is
indeed the most risky thing of all. Dear little Karl, just remember always
that here at home you have a sweetheart who is hoping and suffering and is
wholly dependent on your fate. Dear, dear sweetheart, how I wish I could
only see you again. 

Unfortunately, I cannot and may not fix the day as yet. Before I feel quite
well again, I shall not get permission to travel. But I am staying put this
week. Otherwise our dear synopticist may finally depart and I should not
have seen the worthy man. This morning quite early I studied in the
Augsburg newspaper three Hegelian articles and the announcement of Bruno's

Properly speaking, dear sweetheart, I ought now to say vale faveque to you,
for you only asked me for a couple of lines and the page is already filled
almost to the end. But today I do not want to keep so strictly to the
letter of the law and I intend to stretch the lines asked for to as many
pages. And it is true, is it not, sweetheart, that you will not be angry
with your little Jenny on that account, and as for the content itself, you
should bear firmly in mind that only a knave gives more than he has. Today
my buzzing, whirring little head is quite pitiably empty and it has hardly
anything in it but wheels and clappers and mills. The thoughts have all
gone, but on the other hand, my little heart is so full, so overflowing
with love and yearning and ardent longing for you, my infinitely loved one. 

In the meantime have you not received a letter written in pencil sent
through Vauban? Perhaps, the intermediary is no longer any good, and in
future I must address the letters directly to my lord and master. 

Commodore Napier has just passed by in his white cloak. One's poor senses
fail one at the sight. It strikes me as just like the wolves' ravine in the
Freischuz, when suddenly the wild army and all the curious fantastic forms
pass through it. Only on the miserable little stage of our theatre one
always saw the wires to which the eagles and owls and crocodiles were
fastened -- in this case the mechanism is merely of a somewhat different

Tomorrow, for the first time, Father will be allowed out of his constrained
position and seated on a chair. He is rather discouraged by the very slow
progress of his recovery, but he vigorously issues his orders without
pause, and it will not be long before he is awarded the grand cross of the
order of commanders. 

If I were not lying here so miserably, I would soon be packing my bag.
Everything is ready. Frocks and collars and bonnets are in beautiful order
and only the wearer is not in the right condition. Oh, dearest one, how I
keep thinking of you and your love during my sleepless nights, how often
have I prayed for you, blessed you and implored blessings for you, and how
sweetly I have then often dreamed of all the bliss that has been and will
be. -- This evening Haizinger is acting in Bonn. Will you go there? I have
seen her as Donna Diana. 

Dearest Karl, I should like to say a lot more to you, all that remains to
be said -- but Mother will not tolerate it any longer -- she will take away
my pen and I shall not be able even to express my most ardent, loving
greetings. Just a kiss on each finger and then away into the distance. Fly
away, fly to my Karl, and press as warmly on his lips as you were warm and
tender when starting out towards them; and then cease to be dumb messengers
of love and whisper to him all the tiny, sweet, secret expressions of love
that love gives you -- tell him everything -- but, no, leave something over
for your mistress. 

Farewell, one and only beloved. I cannot write any more, or my head will be
all in a whirl [...] you know, and quadrupedante putrem sonitu etc., etc.
-- Adieu, you dear little man of the railways. Adieu, my dear little man.
-- It is certain, isn't it, that I can marry you? 

Adieu, adieu, my sweetheart. 


Although our letters may have crossed on this occasion, my beloved Karl, I nevertheless look on yours as furnishing a reply to my last letter, since it in fact anticipates and answers in advance all the questions concerning which my mind was unsettled and in doubt.

Only one big vital question, the one of the tailor's and dressmaker's
bills, still awaits a favourable solution, which I hope will soon be
forthcoming. You, sweetheart, weigh up every circumstance with such loving
concern that when I read your dear letter I felt quite comforted. But my
heart is still irresolute in the matter of leaving or staying or at any
rate of fixing a definite date and, if I am to be honest, it inclines more
and more toward staying. If only could draw out each day to twice its
length, if only I could attach leaden wings to the hours that they might
not hasten by so fast—oh, if only you knew what bliss it is for my mother,
our living together, what unending happiness and joy of life she derives
from the contemplation of the lovely child, and what consoling elation from
my presence! And am I to deprive her of all this with one cold word, am I
to take all this away, leaving her with nothing but the forlorn loneliness
of long, dreary winter days, anxious wo!  rry concerning my life and
Edgar's future, nothing save gentle, kindly memories? She herself urges me
with rare courage to depart but, having one day secretly fixed the date, I
vacillate again on the morrow and grant myself one day more—and then
another and still another. And yet my days here are already numbered and it
will soon behove me to eke out the time, for it is drawing inexorably
closer. Besides, I feel altogether too much at ease here in little Germany!
Though to say so in the face of you arch anti-Germans calls for a deal of
courage, does it not? But that courage I have and, for all that and all
that, one can live quite happily in this old land of sinners. At all events
it was in glorious France and Belgium that I first made acquaintance with
the pettiest and meanest of conditions. People are petty here, infinitely
so, life as a whole is a pocket edition, but there heroes are not giants
either, nor is the individual one jot better off. For men it may be
 but for a woman, whose destiny it is to have children, to sew, to cook and
to mend, I commend miserable Germany. There, it still does one credit to
have a child, the needle and the kitchen spoon still lend one a modicum of
grace and, on top of that, and by way of reward for the days spent washing,
sewing and child-minding, one has the comfort of knowing in one's heart of
hearts that one has done one's duty. But now that old-fashioned things such
as duty, honour and the like no longer mean anything, now that we are so
advanced as to consider even old watchwords such as these outmoded, now
that we actually feel in ourselves an urge towards sentiments of positively
Stirnerian egoism, we no longer feel any inclination for the lowlier duties
of life. We, too, want to enjoy ourselves, to do things and to experience
the happiness of mankind in our own persons. But for me, what really turns
the scales in favour of Germany is my having seen, me Hercule, that prince
of men, the model!  man—let no one say a word against a Germany in which
men such as these stand up on their little legs and turn somersaults. But
now joking apart. 

I shall probably be leaving after the middle of September. Weydemeyer may
accompany me as far as Cologne; Schleicher is also going to Brussels and
told me yesterday that he might manage to be there at the right moment for
me. Fiddlesticks, stout Sir, nothing will come of it. We shall probably
have to stick to Breyer. The little house should do. In winter one does not
need much room anyhow. My mother thought it might be best if we were to
lodge Edgar elsewhere throughout that period, perhaps in the bois sauvage.
Anyhow that would be cheapest. Then, having concluded my important business
on the upper floor, I shall remove downstairs again. Then you could sleep
in what is now your study and pitch your tent in the salon immense—that
would present no difficulty. The children's noise downstairs would then be
completely shut off, you would not be disturbed upstairs, I could join you
when things were quiet and the living-room could, after all, always be kept
reasonably tidy. The two!
 rooms on the second floor would be of little or no use to us. At all
events we must instal a good, warm stove and appurtenances in the
living-room at the earliest opportunity. That again is Breyer's business,
for one doesn't let out unheatable rooms. It would be as well to tackle
Master Braggart in really good time, otherwise it will be the same as in
the case of the kitchen table of hallowed memory. After that I shall see to
everything else. Such preparations as could be made here, have been made.
It would be wonderful for me if you could come and meet me. It is too far
to Verviers and there wouldn't be any point. Maybe as far as Liège. Do make
inquiries about an inn there at which we could meet. Wilhelm the Pacific,
anti-pauper and metal-hard, strongly advised me against making the trip
from here to Cologne in one day. It's simply that I detest the idea of
spending the night at Coblenz. Nor should I like to spend a whole day at
Cologne, but shall travel on to Air. Then on to Liège the following day.
However, I shall have to break the train journeys often for the joggling
might well have unpleasant consequences. But I shall let you know more
definitely about the journey itself later. What a colony of paupers there
is going to be in Brussels! Has Engels come back alone or a deux? Hess has
written and told Weydemeyer he intends to marry. Is Bourgeois living in
Cologne, or does he have to be in Elberfeld on account of the Spiegel? I
should also like to ask Daniels to come and see me, but how? Little Jenny
is sitting beside me and is also writing to her papa about whom she
constantly talks. She is too sweet for words. Mrs Worbs gave her such a
lovely little blue frock. Everyone is quite besotted with the child who has
become the talk of the town, so that every day people come to see her. Her
favourite is the chimney sweep, by whom she insists on being picked up.
Tell Edgar that the woollen stockings are in the big box on the right in
the attic, n!
ot immediately beneath the window. He will probably find them if he
rummages about a bit amongst the children's clothes. If only the great
catastrophe did not take place at the very time when you are finishing off
your book, the publication of which I anxiously await. More about this and
one or two personal rencontres with your mother when we meet. Such things
are better talked of than written about. Goodbye, sweetheart. Give my love
to Edgar and the others, and cherish fond thoughts of mother and daughter.
Write again soon. I am so happy when you write. 



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