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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

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Karl Marx


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Karl Marx : 

'At Ruskin College he was exposed to Marx, but he found a more compelling Utopian prophet when he read Lewis Carroll to his daughters: "Then one could look at life and affairs from the proper angle, for was not all our work to this end - that little children should live in their Wonderland, and mothers and fathers be heartful of the good of life because they were".'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Jack Lawson      Print: Book


Karl Marx : 

[Alice Foley] read some Morris and less Marx, but for her a liberal education for the proletariat was not merely a means of achieving socialism: it was socialism in fact. At night school she staged a personal revolution by writing a paper on Romeo and Juliet and thriling to the "new romantic world" of Jane Eyre. She joined a Socialist Sunday School where 'Hiawatha' was recited for its "prophetic idealism", and a foundry hammerman intoned Keats's 'Eve of St Agnes and 'Ode on a Grecian Urn'.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Alice Foley      Print: Book


Karl Marx : Das Kapital

"[George Bernard] Shaw had read Marx's Das Kapital (in French translation) and he was converted to socialism ..."

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: George Bernard Shaw      Print: Book


Karl Marx : unknown

'[George] Saintsbury [who became a Tory journalist] read Marx as an undergraduate ...'

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: George Saintsbury      Print: Book


Karl Marx : 

[Bill Naughton was hurt that when he applied for conscientious objector status the tribunal was suspicious of his elevated vocabulary] '"I couldn't help feeling hurt", Naughton recalled, "that they should deny one the right to use the English language". That hit both ethnic and class nerves: he had been born in County Mayo of peasant stock. At any rate, he was using the language to read Locke, Nietzsche, Thoreau, Schopenhauer, Marx and The Faerie Queene. They were not easy to decipher at first, but as he pieced together an understanding of what he was reading, he became more critical and less deferential...'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Bill Naughton      Print: Book


Karl Marx : 

'[Davies said] "Before I was twelve I had developed an appreciation of good prose, and the Bible created in me a zest for literature", propelling him directly to Lamb, Hazlitt's Essays and Ruskin's The Crown of Wild Olives. Later... he joined the library committee of the Miners' Institute in Maesteg, made friends with the librarian, and advised him on acquisitions. Thus he could read all the books he wanted: Marx, Smith, Ricardo, Mill, Marshall, economic and trade union history, Fabian Essays, Thomas Hardy, Meredith, Kipling and Dickens'.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: D.R. Davies      Print: Book


Karl Marx : 

'[During the Great Depression] "Thousands used the Public Library for the first time", recalled itinerant labourer John Brown, who read Shaw, Marx, Engels, and classic literature until he exhausted his South Shields library.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: John Brown      Print: Book


Karl Marx : 

'[Jack Ashley] was less prepared for Ruskin [College] than most of the students, having read only two books since leaving school: Jack London's The Iron Heel and the regulations of the Widnes Town Council. But principal Lionel Elvin "appreciated the profound dificulties facing working class students": "When I stumbled through the intricacies of the political theories of Marx, Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke and T.H. Green, he marked my work frankly yet gave encouragement... He was an excellent teacher, genuinely interested in discussing ideas and persuading students to express their own"

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Jack Ashley      Print: Book


Karl Marx : Das Kapital

'For Dunfermline housepainter James Clunie, Das Kapital and the Wealth of Nations both demonstrated that industrialism inevitably increased economic inequality, the exploitation of labour and class conflict. To this The Descent of Man added "the great idea of human freedom... It brought out the idea that whether our children were with or without shoes was due to poverty arising from the administration of society".'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: James Clunie      Print: Book


Karl Marx : 

'Taxi driver Herbert Hodge...knew that years on the dole only produced apathy, and that out-of-work men wanted practical help in dealing with the Board of Guardians far more than ideology. That experience plus his eclectic reading (Bergson, Nietzsche, William McDougall, Bertrand Russell, the new Testament, and Herbert Spencer as well as Marx) led him out of the [Communist] Party towards a socialism that would be brought about by individual volition...'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Herbert Hodge      Print: Book


Karl Marx : Das Kapital

'In 1925 Ifan Edwards was driven by unemployment to read Das Kapital in the public library. "It took him about four hundred pages of close print to come to the crux of his argument in the classic illustration of a labourer looking for a job in a factory, and, as he said, expecting nothing but a hiding", Edwards remembered. "This little aside appealed to me very much, as I had had one or two hidings myself".'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Ifan Edwards      Print: Book


Karl Marx : Das Kapital

[George Scott disliked the Communism of fellow journalist, Stan] 'He had read Das Kapital (or parts of it) and could talk slickly about dialectical materialism. His own dialectic was derived from Straight and Crooked Thinking, a guide to identifying faulty logic, but he "enjoyed it because it taught him how to twist truth to his own ends...".'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Stan (acquaintance of George Scott)      Print: Book


Karl Marx : [unknown]

'Walter Citrine won, as a Sunday School prize, a volume of school stories from the Captain, including one by P.G. Wodehouse. "The lady who gave this prize awakened in me a thirst for good literature", eventually leading to the works of Karl Marx and his followers'.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Walter Citrine      Print: Book


Karl Marx : Das Kapital

'[Patrick McGill] read virtually nothing, not even the daily papers until, working on the rail line, he happened to pick up some poetry written on a page from an exercise book. somehow it spoke to him and he began to read "ravenously". He brought "Sartor Resartus", "Sesame and Lilies" and Montaigne's essays to work. "Les Miserables" reduced him to tears, though he found "Das Kapital" less affecting. Each payday he set aside a few shillings to buy secondhand books, which after a month's use were almost illegible with rust, grease and dirt....[eventually he] went on to become a popular novelist.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Patrick McGill      Print: Book


Karl Marx : [unknown]

'The poet Clare Cameron, born Winifred Wells to a London blacksmith, was a 15s a week clerk given to artistic ecstasies... She ate cheap lunches at Lyons to save money for volumes of Tennyson, Shelley and Ruskin. She found the "kindling glow" of words and ideas in Tolstoy, Shaw, Ibsen, Nietzsche, and Marx... Once she read Murger's novel and saw Puccini's opera, she could not turn back: "Ah, THERE was the life we craved. There was expression of and answer to all our fumbling desires and half-formed dreams"...At her first Bohemian party (it was actually in St John's Wood) she was dazzled and intimidated by the easy conversation, the poise, the confidence, the wit'.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Clare Cameron      Print: Book


Karl Marx : Capital

'Finished "Capital" - the cenotaph of its subject.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: William Soutar      Print: Book


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