spotCampaigns

spotOrganisations

spotArguments for socialism

spotPeople

triangleInternational

spotEvents

spotAround the UK


All keywords


All People subcategories:

BAME

* International figures

Labour Party figures

Lefts

Miscellaneous

Nationalists

Other UK politicans

Socialist Party and CWI public figures

Tory figures

Trade union figures

Transport

Writers and artists


International figures keywords:

Ahmadinejad (15)

Al Gore (4)

Alan Greenspan (3)

Albert Einstein (2)

Alistair Darling (13)

Ariel Sharon (24)

Ariel Sharon (24)

Avigdor Liberman (1)

Babeuf (2)

Bashar al-Assad (7)

Bashar al-Assad (7)

Benazir Bhutto (3)

Benito Mussolini (1)

Berlusconi (21)

Bertie Ahern (3)

Boris Yeltsin (2)

Charles Darwin (2)

Che Guevara (21)

Cindy Sheehan (8)

Daniel Ortega (3)

David Kelly (4)

Dmitry Medvedev (2)

Donald Trump (65)

Ehud Barak (1)

Eleanor Marx (19)

Fidel Castro (11)

Gaddafi (19)

General Franco (1)

General Suharto (1)

George Best (1)

George Bush (81)

Hilary Clinton (4)

Hitler (22)

Hosni Mubarak (8)

Hugo Chávez (32)

Jacob Zuma (9)

Jacques Chirac (4)

Jean Bertrand Aristide (2)

Jean-Marie Le Pen (3)

Jeff Bezos (5)

John Maynard Keynes (2)

Joseph McCarthy (2)

Junichiro Koizumi (1)

Karl Liebknecht (6)

Lenin (68)

Lula (23)

Mahinda Rajapaksa (10)

Mahmood Abbas (2)

Malcolm X (33)

Mao Zedong (5)

Marine Le Pen (7)

Mikhail Gorbachev (4)

Mugabe (11)

Mussolini (4)

Napoleon Bonaparte (2)

Nicolas Sarkozy (7)

Obama (66)

Osama Bin Laden (2)

Paul Krugman (4)

Paul Wolfowitz (1)

Pervez Musharraf (7)

Pinochet (19)

Pope John Paul II (1)

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2)

Richard Branson (14)

Robespierre (5)

Romano Prodi (4)

Ronald Reagan (2)

Rosa Luxemburg (21)

Rupert Murdoch (27)

Saddam Hussein (30)

Sarkozy (16)

Silvio Berlusconi (4)

Stalin (44)

Thabo Mbeki (2)

Tim Flannery (1)

Tony Blair (152)

Trotsky (136)

Trump (150)

Vladimir Putin (18)

Yasser Arafat (8)

Eleanor Marx


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 839, 14 January 2015: NHS in crisis: This emergency is no accident!

Search site for keywords: Eleanor Marx - Marx - Women - Revolution - Family - Engels

Book review

Eleanor Marx - a life

Clare Doyle reviews 'Eleanor Marx - A Life' by Rachel Holmes

Eleanor Marx was an extraordinary woman - youngest daughter of an extraordinary man, Karl Marx, and of Jenny, his lifelong partner through revolution and counter-revolution.

Many socialists know of Eleanor's tremendous role in the preparation and publication of Marx's great work, Das Kapital, completing the task with Marx's close friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels. We are also familiar with her involvement in building mass working class organisations in Britain at the end of the 19th century, in the great strikes of that period and in both the First and Second Internationals.

But this book brings out the tireless devotion and energy she dedicated to these tasks. She was not only preparing leaflets, posters, resolutions, reports, addressing meetings, conducting classes and fearlessly leading demonstrations but translating material and interpreting from and into a number of different languages. On top of that Eleanor Marx was meticulously organising telegraph and postal communications within Britain and around the world.

This book is not so much a political biography as a biography of an outstanding person who was - almost from her birth in 1855 - extremely political. It is sometimes tediously detailed on her personal life but gives a living picture of the Marx family's life. It shows the tragedies, illnesses and deaths as well as the delights in the works of Goethe and Shakespeare, walks on Hampstead Heath, opera visits etc.

The author has made a meticulous study of apparently all the available source material, especially Eleanor's own writings - letters and diaries - and those of close, mostly female, friends.

It is frustratingly short on politics, just a few sentences about the momentous Paris Commune of 1871. Even these concentrated on the fact that the near revolution saw women playing a significant, and at times equal, role in the fighting.

The book is clearly that of a feminist author with left-wing sympathies but has hardly a word about the political and historical issues she debated with her father and the numerous visitors to their home in London.

On Ireland, Eleanor, along with the second major influence in her political life, Friedrich Engels, stood against the stream in championing the rights of the Irish to break from British imperial rule. Also, like him, she believed that men and women should be able to live together without the bonds of marriage.

Family

Eleanor felt strongly about childbearing and domestic chores hampering the development of women including her own sisters. Nevertheless, she enjoyed little more than having her nieces and nephews to stay with her; she would drop everything to go to the aid of her sisters and their children when they were ill or hounded by the authorities (as in France).

Like many younger daughters of the time, Eleanor was expected to stay at home to help with various responsibilities and discouraged from pursuing early romances. This included, in Eleanor's case, with the French revolutionary, Lissagaray - her first lover and a man with whom she shared her life for some years and co-wrote the history of the Paris Commune.

Later, in spite of efforts by her friends, Eleanor could not be discouraged from setting up home with Edward Aveling. He was a socialist but had a poor reputation for his personal behaviour - profligate (with other people's money) and dishonest.

It was Eleanor's discovery that Aveling had secretly married someone else while living with her that tragically drove her to take her own life on 31 March, 1898.

Apart from her tremendous contribution to the socialist and workers' movement, Eleanor Marx participated energetically in numerous activities - acting, translating literary as well as political works and defending writers like Ibsen and Flaubert when they came under attack from conservative critics. She herself wrote important political works such as "The working class movement in America" after an exhausting four month speaking tour of 15 states in the US.

Eleanor's life was impressive and inspiring for all socialists; her premature death a tragedy.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £

 

Your message: 

 







Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999