Thursday, July 5, 2007
The city rat invites the country rat onto the Persian rug. They gnaw and chew leftover bits of ortolan. Scraps, bits and pieces, leftovers: their royal feast is only a meal after a meal among the dirty dishes of a table that has not been cleared . . . . The rats, the country- and the city-dweller, have shown us that the system of parasites in stepladder formation is not very different from an ordinary system. Who will ever know if parasitism is an obstacle to its proper functioning or if it is its very dynamics? (Michel Serres, The Parasite, trans. Lawrence Schehr [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1982], 3, 27)
In 1846-47 Marx and Engels made repeated attempts to find a publisher in Germany for their work [The German Ideology]; their efforts were, however, unsuccessful. This was due partly to difficulties made by the police and partly to the reluctance of the publishers to print the work since their sympathies were on the side of the representatives of the trends attacked by Marx and Engels.
Marx remarked later that they then abandoned the MS. to "the gnawing criticism of the mice." This turned out to be literally true, and affected passages have been reconstructed by the editors of the Complete Edition, by inserting words, which are enclosed in square brackets. (C.J. Arthur, "Editor's Preface" to Marx and Engels, The German Ideology [New York: International Publishers, 1970], 1)
Words eaten by mice in Part I of The German Ideology:
quite naturally derived
the oppressive landed nobility
Its first premise
with others has each
a larger part of "Feuerbach: Philosophic, and Real, Liberation"
and possibly up to four pages of "Division of Labour: Town and Country"
Marx isn't even mentioned in Serres.
Image: manuscript page of The German Ideology