Vol. 45 No. 3 1978 - page 356

iani sm , and essentialism all coalesced in wha t Canovan call s her
"continuous di alogue" wi th Ma rx, an interchange tha t justifi es more
than cursory comment. Like the political existenti alists, she sou ght a
way to transcend the left-ri ght, socialism- capitalism alternatives be–
quea thed by the nineteenth century, and in so do ing to go beyond
Marxi sm . In her reply to Gershom Scholem 's a ttack on
Eichmann in
] erusa lem,
she wrote: " I came la te to an understanding o f Marx's
importance because I was interested neither in history nor in politi cs
when I was young.
I can be said to 'have come from an ywhere,' it is
from the tradition of German phil osophy." Precisely when sh e began
read Marx seriously is difficult to determine, but wha t is cl ear is tha t
she absorbed a now old-fas hi oned interpreta ti on of Ma rx which she
tenaciously defended until her death.
is the Marx of the Second
Interna tional, whi ch is still current in orthodox Communist circl es,
alth ou gh scarcely anywhere else. As she sta ted in
Between Past and
the sep ara tion of Marx from En gel's interpreta tio n o f h im, "an
opinion current among Marx sch olars, " is one she rejected . Since she
wro te those words, the "opinion " has become the new orthodoxy with
commenta tors like Li chtheim, Avineri , Schmidt, Rubel, Fetsch er, and
McClell an endorsing the insight Lu kacs and Korsch h ad in th e earl y
1920s. Although there are some residual diffi culties, such as expl aining
why Marx all owed Engels to publish the unfortuna te
without apparent obj ecti on, the weight of evidence brought to light in
the pas t decade ma kes her insistence indefen sible. Yet to abandon it
would undermine what is essenti all y the Marxist straw man she
attacked . In her las t years, she was willing to grant the poss ibility o f an
"earl y" and "la te" Marx, altho ugh the publi ca ti on of the
has served to call that di stinction into ques ti on , just as it has reinforced
the Marx-Engels gap .
By ho lding on to wha t can be call ed a discredited view of Marx, she
was abl e to accuse him of several basic failings. First, a ltho ugh
recognizing tha t Marx restored the predominance of the
vita activa,
argu ed tha t he raised the wrong o ne o f its modes
the hi ghes t sta tu s:
that o f man as
an imallaborans,
whose sole concern is the reproducti on
of the conditions for bio logical surviva l. T his means tha t Marx in her
understanding is bes t ca tegorized as a
L ebensp hilosoph
in the tradition
of Nietzsche and Bergson . T ha t is, hi s hi ghes t va lue is li fe itself, ra ther
than the "world" of crafted artifacts or the remembrance of grea t deeds
<in the public realm : As she wrote in
Th e H uman Condi tion:
Within a compl etely "socialized mankind," whose sole purpose
would be th e entertaining of the li fe process - and this is th e
329...,346,347,348,349,350,351,352,353,354,355 357,358,359,360,361,362,363,364,365,366,...492
Powered by FlippingBook