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Marx's InfernoThe Political Theory of Capital$
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William Clare Roberts

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691180816

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691180816.001.0001

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Introduction: Rereading Capital

Introduction: Rereading Capital

(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction: Rereading Capital
Marx's Inferno

William Clare Roberts

Princeton University Press

This book examines Karl Marx's critique of capitalism by rereading his Capital as political theory. It considers Capital's ambition to lay bare, for the first time, the inner workings of the capitalist mode of production and the political economy that analyzes it. It argues that, in Capital, Marx had a grand aspiration—to write the definitive analysis of what is wrong with the rule of capital—and that he modeled this aspiration on a grand literary framework: rewriting Dante's Inferno as a descent into the modern “social Hell” of the capitalist mode of production. The book also contends that Capital is best read as a critical reconstruction of and rejoinder to the other versions of socialism and popular radicalism that predominated in France and England in the 1860s and 1870s. This chapter provides an overview of the book's argument.

Keywords:   capitalism, Karl Marx, Capital, political theory, capitalist mode of production, political economy, Dante, Inferno, social Hell, socialism

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