Capital. A Critique of Political Economy. Vol. I. Abridged.

MARX Karl (1944.)


Please contact us in advance if you would like to view this book at our Curzon Street shop.


First Australian edition. 8vo. 159, [1] pp., black and white photographic portrait of Marx to title page. Original quarter blue cloth with drab boards, front cover lettered in blue (corners bumped, extremities lightly rubbed). Melbourne, Workers' Literature Bureau. 

The first edition of Das Kapital to be published in Australia, an abridgement based on the English translation of the first volume of Kapital by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling, originally published in London by Swan Sonneschein in 1887.

The publication appeared during a turbulent time for Marxism in Australia. The Communist Party of Australia, founded in 1920, was temporarily banned from May 1940 to December 1942 due its attempt to disrupt the Australian war effort against Germany in the early stages of the Second World War. The Party experienced a resurgence following the termination of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union, with party membership swelling from 4,000 when the ban was first imposed to 20,000 by the end of 1943.

The present abridgement was published by the Workers' Literature Bureau in Melbourne, an organisation that took great care to stress that it was not officially affiliated with the Communist Party of Australia - for obvious reasons given the recent lifting of the temporary ban of the Party. It appeared with a nine-page introduction signed by one 'F.D.', most likely Francis Harold 'Hal' Devanny (1894-1966), husband of the New Zealand novelist Jane Devanny and publisher of the Workers Weekly, the official organ of the Communist Party of Australia. In 1932, 'Hal' Devanny was sentenced to six months' imprisonment for publishing the Workers Weekly, the charge being that he "did solicit contributions of money for an unlawful association, namely, the Communist Party of Australia" (see Webb, Communism and Democracy in Australia, p. 19). Although Devanny would ultimately see his appeal upheld in the High Court, it is not surprising that his introduction to the present abridgement of Kapital was discreetly signed using only his initials. 

Surprisingly scarce outside of Australian institutions, with OCLC and Library Hub listing no copies in North America or the United Kingdom.

Stock Code: 245349

close zoom-in zoom-out close zoom