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A biography of Friedrich Engels恩格斯传:非常特别的商界天使
A biography of Friedrich Engels
弗里德里希•恩格斯传 [注1]

A very special business angel
The self-effacing friend who enabled “Das Kapital” to be written
[注2]

非常特别的商界天使:是这位不求闻达的朋友让《资本论》的写作成为可能

Aug 13th 2009
From The Economist print edition




Marx’s General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels. By Tristram Hunt. Metropolitan Books; 448 pages; $32. Published in Britain as “The Frock-Coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels”. Allen Lane; £25. Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk

《马克思的将军:弗里德里希•恩格斯的革命生涯》。作者特里斯特兰•亨特,大都会出版社出版。448页;32美元。在英国的书名是《穿长礼服的共产主义者:弗里德里希•恩格斯的革命生涯》。艾伦•雷恩出版社出版;25英镑。可从Amazon.com和Amazon.co.uk网站购买。

WHEN the financial crisis took off last autumn, Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital”, originally published in 1867, whooshed up bestseller lists. The first book to describe the relentless, all-consuming and global nature of capitalism had suddenly gained new meaning. But Marx had never really gone away, whereas Friedrich Engels—the man who worked hand in glove with him for most of his life and made a huge contribution to “Das Kapital”—is almost forgotten. A new biography by a British historian, Tristram Hunt, makes a good case for giving him greater credit.

去年秋天金融危机骤然降临时,1867年初版的卡尔•马克思的《资本论》在各个畅销书排行榜上飞速跃升。该书第一次对资本主义冷酷无情、吞噬一切和全球扩张的本性进行了描述,现在突然有了新的涵义。其实马克思从未真正离开过我们,不过弗里德里希•恩格斯--这位大半生都在和马克思亲密合作并对《资本论》做出了巨大贡献的人--却几乎被人遗忘了。英国历史学家特里斯特兰•亨特所作的新的传记有力的说明了恩格斯的功绩应该得到更大的承认。

The two men became friends in Paris in 1844 when both were in their mid-20s, and remained extremely close until Marx died in 1883. Both were Rhinelanders (our picture shows Engels standing behind Marx in the press room of Rheinische Zeitung which they edited jointly) but came from very different backgrounds: Marx’s father was a Jewish lawyer turned Christian; Engels’s a prosperous Protestant cotton-mill owner. Marx studied law, then philosophy; Engels, the black sheep of his family, was sent to work in the family business at 17. While doing his military service in 1841 in Berlin, he was exposed to the ferment of ideas swirling around the Prussian capital.

马恩二人成为朋友是在1844年的巴黎,当时他们都是二十五岁上下。从那以后他们一直关系极为紧密,直至马克思于1883年逝世。两人都是莱茵人(本文的图片中恩格斯站在马克思身后,地点是他们共同编辑的《莱茵时报》印刷车间),但家庭背景很不一样:马克思的父亲是一名犹太裔律师,后来皈依基督教;恩格斯的父亲是新教教徒,也是一名成功的棉纺厂厂主。马克思先是学习法律,后来又研习了哲学;恩格斯不被家人看好,才17岁就被打发到家族企业去干活。1841年恩格斯在柏林服兵役,在此期间他接触到了激荡在这个普鲁士首都的各种思想

Next, he went to work for the Manchester branch of the family business, Ermen & Engels. Manchester’s “cottonopolis” in the mid-19th century was a manufacturer’s heaven and a working man’s hell, and it provided an invaluable lesson for Engels: that economic factors were the basic cause of the clash between different classes of society. By 1845, when he was just 24, he had not only learnt how to be a successful capitalist; he had also written a coruscatingly anti-capitalist work, “The Condition of the Working Class in England”, which charted the inhumanity of modern methods of production in minute detail.

之后他去了其家族企业在英国曼彻斯特的分厂工作,该分厂的名称是俄们-恩格斯。十九世纪中期曼彻斯特的“棉都”是制造商的天堂,工人的地狱,也为恩格斯上了极为宝贵的一课,让他意识到经济因素是不同社会阶级之间冲突的基本原因。到1845年他才24岁时,他就不仅已经学会了如何做一名成功的资本家,而且已经写出了一本才华横溢的反资本主义著作,即《英国工人阶级状况》[注3]。该书以具体而微的细节描述了现代生产方法的惨无人道。

Engels left Manchester to work with Marx on the “Communist Manifesto” and the two of them spent the late 1840s criss-crossing Europe to chase the continental revolutions of the time, ending up in England. Marx had started work on “Das Kapital”, but there was a problem. He had by then acquired an aristocratic German wife, a clutch of small children and aspirations for a comfortable bourgeois lifestyle, but no means of support.

为了和马克思合写“共产宣言”,恩格斯离开了曼彻斯特。他们两个人在1840年代后期穿行于欧洲各处,试图赶上当时欧洲大陆各国的革命,最后他们在英格兰安顿下来。马克思那时已经开始了《资本论》一书上的工作,但他碰到了一个问题。他当时已经获得了一位来自贵族家庭的德国妻子,一窝嗷嗷待哺的孩子,同时还希望过上舒适的资产阶级生活,却没有支持这一切的物质手段。

Engels (whose name resembles the word for “angel” in German) offered an astoundingly big-hearted solution: he would go back to Manchester to resume life in the detested family cotton business and provide Marx with the money he needed to write his world-changing treatise. For the next 20 years Engels worked grumpily away, handing over half his generous income to an ever more demanding Marx. He also collaborated intensively on the great work, contributing many ideas, practical examples from business and much-needed editorial attention. When at last volume I of “Das Kapital” was finished, he extricated himself from the business and moved to London to be near the Marx family, enjoying life as an Economist-reading rentier and intellectual.

恩格斯(其家姓类似德语中“天使”[Engel]一词)提出了一个解决的办法,其慷慨让人震惊:他将回到曼彻斯特那让他厌恶的家族棉纺厂里重新过活,同时给马克思提供必要的资金以让后者写出他改变世界的论文。在其后的20年间,恩格斯任劳但不任怨的经营棉纺厂,将其丰厚收入的一半交给需求越来越多的马克思。他也和马克思围绕该部巨著进行了大量的合作,为之贡献了许多想法和来自工商业的实例,还为该书进行了亟需的编辑和校对。当《资本论》第一卷终于完成后,他从商务中抽身出来搬到了伦敦以便住在马克思一家附近。他成了一名食利者和知识人,阅读《经济学人》,享受生活。

Engels was an enigma. Gifted, energetic and fascinated by political ideas, he was nevertheless ready to play second fiddle to Marx. “Marx was a genius; we others were at best talented,” he declared after his friend’s death. Mr Hunt does a brilliant job of setting the two men’s endeavours in the context of the political, social and philosophical currents at the time. It makes for a complex story that can be hard to follow but is well worth persevering with.

恩格斯是一个迷。他天分甚高,充满活力,对各种政治观点着迷,但他却甘当马克思的副手。在他的朋友逝世后,他这样宣称:“马克思是个天才,我们其他人至多是有才而已。”亨特先生非常出色的将他们二人的奋斗置于当时的政治、社会和哲学潮流的境之中来考察。这使得他的故事纷繁复杂,读者要理清头绪可能会有困难,但坚持把该书读下来却是非常值得的。

Tall and handsome, Engels had a taste not just for ideas but for the good life—wine, women, riding with the Cheshire hunt—and seems to have felt little sense of irony that all these things were paid for by the proletariat’s back-breaking labour. His domestic life was much more unconventional than Marx’s. He lived, on and off, with a semi-literate Irish working-class girl, Mary Burns; then, when she died, with her sister, Lizzy, whom he married only on her deathbed. He had no children, though he chivalrously took responsibility for a boy whom Marx had fathered with a housekeeper.

恩格斯身材魁梧,容貌潇洒,他不仅喜欢思想,也喜爱快乐的生活—美酒、女人、和柴郡的猎狐队伍一道打猎――他用以支付这一切的是无产者累死累活的劳动,但他似乎没怎么觉出这其中的反讽。他的家庭生活远比马克思的更为离经叛道。他和一个叫玛丽•伯恩斯的字都没有认全的爱尔兰女工断断续续在一起生活过;在她死后,他又和她的妹妹丽琪生活在了一起,直到后者临终时才娶了她。他没有小孩,虽然在一名女仆生下了马克思的一个儿子后他骑士般的承担了责任。

Engels’s sacrifices continued after Marx’s death. He not only carried on funding the Marx family and their various hangers-on, but also spent years pulling together the chaotic notes Marx left behind for volumes II and III of “Das Kapital”. Inevitably there were lots of loose ends which Engels tied up as he saw fit, and sometimes the results were more revolutionary than the author may have intended. In volume III, where Marx discussed the tendency of companies’ profitability to fall and noted that this might lead to the “shaking” of capitalist production, Engels substituted the word “collapse”, opening up the text to much more radical interpretations by 20th-century Marxists.

恩格斯的自我牺牲在马克思死后也未停止。他不仅继续为马克思一家和他们的追随者提供资金,而且花费了多年时间整理马克思为《资本论》第二和第三卷留下来的混乱的笔记。[注4] 恩格斯难免要将很多马克思没有很好解决的问题按照他认为合适的方式解决,有时这样改动后的文字比作者本来可能想说的更富革命性。在第三卷,马克思讨论了公司的利润率会趋于下降,于是他提出这也许会导致资本主义生产的“动摇”。恩格斯在此处用“崩溃”一词替代了“动摇”,从而使得该文本后来能够被二十世纪的马克思主义者们赋予远为激进的阐释。

When Engels died in 1895, he eschewed London’s Highgate cemetery where his friend was laid to rest. Self-effacing to the last, he had his ashes scattered off England’s coast at Eastbourne—the scene of happy holidays with the Marxes.

当恩格斯在1895年逝世时,他避开了伦敦的海格特公墓--他的朋友长眠于斯。直到最后一刻都不求闻达的他让人将他的骨灰撒在了靠近伊斯特伯恩的英吉利海峡――在那儿他和马克思一家度过了许多愉快的假日。

[注1]:这篇文章载于去年八月的一期《经济学人》,读的时候就想把它翻成中文,但一直没有找到时间,现在总算了却了这桩心愿。马克思和恩格斯的学说的功过我不想去谈,但是他们二人的思想直到今天仍然值得我们后人认真研究和学习(当然不是指为了不那么高尚的目的强迫别人进行的那种所谓学习――那实在是对“学习”这个词的玷污――汉语中被这样污染了的词语还有不少)。《经济学人》这篇书评当然更多的着眼于马恩二人深挚的友谊,读来让人感念恩格斯对朋友的无私。能得恩格斯这样铁杆的朋友实乃老马人生的一大幸事啊。

[注2]: 《资本论》一书的德语书名是Das Kapital,但它的英语书名并不是The Capital, 而是Capital,即没有定冠词。Capital指资本时不可数,所以除非当它特指某人或某公司等的资本,前面不应加定冠词。

[注3]:仅从英文书名上讲,The Condition of the Working Class in England中的England应该译为英格兰而非英国,因为这二者并不是一回事(后者在恩格斯的时代还包括爱尔兰的全部,当然也包括英格兰和苏格兰)。不过既然中国国内对此书书名的翻译向来都是《英国工人阶级状况》,此处也就依从这个习惯译法。

[注4]:Hangers-on也可指食客,这可能更符合这篇《经济学人》文章作者的原意。只是感觉上中文的“食客”二字比hangers-on刺耳,所以先不用罢。
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