Karl Marx: A reading passage from "Das Kapital"
    

    
    
    


  
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Karl Marx: A reading passage from "Das Kapital"

Grave of Karl Marx, Highgate Cemetery

Grave of Karl Marx, Highgate Cemetery

Introduction

This reading passage from Karl Marx is taken from the Afterword to the Second Edition of "The Capital", Book One. It is intended for an academic readership that can tackle complicated German structures.

Objectives

This text is accompanied by grammar questions, one translation task and reading comprehension questions. These learning activities will enable you to get a better understanding of the text.

At the end you will be able to check your understanding by reading the English translation of the whole passage.



Activity 1: Read and listen to the text

Click here for the German text (Word doc 37 KB)

 and listen to the audiofile (WMA 903 KB)

 

Instruction

Please open the word file and the audiofile in separate windows.

Activity 2: Tenses

The following grammar tasks are about tenses, extended adjective constructions, sentence structure and cases.

Instruction

Determine the tenses of the underlined verbs:

Lines 5 – 8:

..., daß der große theoretische Sinn, der als deutsches Erbgut galt, den sog. gebildeten Klassen Deutschlands durchaus abhanden gekommen ist, dagegen in seiner Arbeiterklasse neu auflebt.

 

a) galt




b) gekommen ist




c) auflebt




Activity 3: Extended adjective constructions

These are constructions which have no 1 – 1 equivalent in English. Therefore they must be decoded step by step before being translated.

Instruction

There are two extended adjective constructions in this text. Please find them in the lines indicated and analyse them in 4 steps before translating them.

Example: eine vom Schnee bedeckte Straße

Step 1: determiner: eine

Step 2: noun that agrees with determiner: Straße

Step 3: participle or adjective: bedeckte

Step 4: rest: vom Schnee

Translation: a street covered by snow

 

Write down the extended adjective construction and decode it step by step as shown in the example. Then translate the construction into English.

1) Lines 4 - 5  

2) Lines 20 – 21

Follow the same steps

Activity 4: Sentence structure and cases (lines 21 – 27)

Instruction

Das nicht ganz unterdrückbare Gefühl wissenschaftlicher Ohnmacht und das unheimliche Gewissen, auf einem in der Tat fremdartigen Gebiet schulmeistern zu müssen, suchte man zu verstecken unter dem Prunk literarhistorischer Gelehrsamkeit oder durch Beimischung fremden Stoffes, entlehnt den sog. Kameralwissenschaften, einem Mischmasch von Kenntnissen, deren Fegfeuer der hoffnungsvolle Kandidat deutscher Bürokratie zu bestehn hat.

 

1) What is the subject of the main clause?

2) What is the subject of the relative clause?

3) Which noun does “einem” agree with?

4) Determine the cases in the underlined passages:

    a) Das nicht ganz unterdrückbare Gefühl

    b) literarhistorischer Gelehrsamkeit

    c) den sog. Kameralwissenschaften

    d) deren  

a) b) c) d)

5) Translate “deren”

Activity 5: Reading comprehension

Instruction

Please answer the following questions. You don’t need to translate the relevant passage, but to extract the main points out of it.

What is Herr Mayer’s statement? (paragraph 1)

How does Karl Marx expand on this statement with regard to political economy and German academics? (lines 16 - 27)

Please mention 4 points.

 

True or false? (Lines 30 – 35)

Please indicate whether the following statements are true or false:

1) Only if capitalism is considered to be temporary and the class struggle is latent, can political economy remain a “Wissenschaft”.

 



2) “Bourgois” political economy considers capitalism to be the absolute and ultimate form of social production.



True or false? (lines 37 – 41)

1) Ricardo considers the antagonism between different class interests to be a social natural law.

 



2) Ricardo is a representative of the theory of class struggle.



Activity 6: Translation

Instruction

Please translate the following passage of the text into English (lines 9 – 15).

Die politische Ökonomie blieb in Deutschland bis zu dieser Stunde eine ausländische Wissenschaft. Gustav von Gülich hat in "Geschichtliche Darstellung des Handels, der Gewerbe usw.", namentlich in den 1830 herausgegebnen zwei ersten Bänden seines Werkes, großenteils schon die historischen Umstände erörtert, welche die Entwicklung der kapitalistischen Produktionsweise bei uns hemmten, daher auch den Aufbau der modernen bürgerlichen Gesellschaft.  

Would you like to review the main points?

© Christine Bohlander, Durham University, Image courtesy of Nick MacNeill, September 2011

Created using the LOC Tool, University of Southampton