The first Italian translation of Marx's "Das Kapital"

Marx, Karl. Il Capitale. Critica dell' economia politica.

Turin, Unione Tipografico-Editrice, 1886.

Large 8vo. 685, (1) pp. In: "Biblioteca dell'Economista", Third Series, vol. 9, pt. 2. [Entire volume: (4), 903, (1) pp.]. Bound in later half calf with gilt spine and marbled covers.


First Italian translation of Marx's landmark work, constituting what is arguably the greatest revolutionary work of the 19th century. Originally published in German in 1867, it was only this first part that appeared during Marx's lifetime. In Italy the book proved immensely influential in both communist and fascist circles: Antonio Gramsci, founding member and sometime leader of the Communist Party of Italy (PCI), based much of his theoretical and practical work on the present translation of "Das Kapital", while Ezra Pound read this Italian translation (which is among the most heavily annotated volumes in his personal library), and his horror at Marx's accounts of the exploitation of labour eventually developed into sympathy for fascism, based on Mussolini's socialist roots (cf. L. Rainey, A Poem Containing History: Textual Studies in The Cantos [1997], p. 125).

The translation was prepared in nine instalments, beginning in 1882, but was not published until 1886. Oddly, it remained relatively unknown: "It was difficult in Italy during that period to obtain Marx's works. With the exception of Cafiero's hard-to-find summary and some other summarizing pamphlets published by another Southern scholar, Pasquale Martiguetti of Benevento, those Italians who sought to consult Marx were forced (unless they could read the original German) to have recourse to the French translation of the first volume of 'Capital', published in 1875. Still, in 1887 Filippo Turati could complain that Marx's and Engels's writings either were defective or else unavailable in Italian versions. True, in 1886 Boccardo had published in the 'Biblioteca dell'Economista', an Italian translation of 'Capital', but this was inaccessible to those of modest means" (P. Piccone, Italian Marxism [1983], p. 65, translating from R. Michels, Storia Critica del Movimento Socialista Italiano [1921], p. 135).

Evenly browned throughout with very occasional minor brown spots, otherwise a very fine and clean copy.


Andréas 154. Einaudi (not numbered, between no. 3769 and 3770). Cf. Mattioli 2287 (a 1916 reprint). Rubel 633. Marx-Engels Erstdrucke 32f. PMM 359.

Art.-Nr.: BN#46718 Schlagwort: