Heinrich Heine and Marx As Essayists: On the Genesis and the Function of the Critic-Intellectuals

  • Miguel Vedda
Part of the Marx, Engels, and Marxisms book series (MAENMA)


By comparing Heinrich Heine and Karl Marx, this essay examines the role of both in the genesis of the figure of the modern critic-Intellectual, the concept of revolution, philosophies of the history and the paradigm of essayism proposed by Heine and Marx. The essayism is defined as an essential factor in the philosophy of Marx and in the tradition of Marxism, and understood as an essentially non-dogmatic form of theoretical and critical approach, which—in a dialectical way—is not based on fixed, ahistorical principles, but is given to an open and secular exploration of the world. Taking as starting point an analysis of the intellectual circumstances of the European—and, in particular, French—Restoration and an examination of the debate provoked by the Börne book of Heinrich Heine, this essay delineates the figure of the critic-Intellectual on the basis of the Hegelian concept of “torn conscience”, understood as a specifically characteristic figure of Modernity. The method of Marx is presented as a particularly lucid way of concretizing this paradigm of thought and orientation towards the world, with the purpose of understanding and transforming it.


Essayism German essay Intellectuals Marxism Restoration age 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miguel Vedda
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET)Buenos AiresArgentina

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