Polozhenie rabochego klassa v Rossii [i.e. Russian "The condition of the working class in Russia"]

St. Petersburg: N.P. Polyakova, 1869.

8vo. In a later modest half calf binding. Previous owner's name to top of front free end-paper and half title. Internally lightly spottet and soiled. Dampstain to top corner and lower part of book. Restauration to upper outer corner of Pp. 109-110 and pp. 111-112. A closed tear to map. (6), II, 494 pp. + 1 map.

Rare first edition of Bervi-Flerovsky's important study based on his own research and impressions from Siberia, which became a milestone in the history of Russian sociology, often referred to as the Russian 'Das Kapital'. It was greatly appreciated by Marx, and in 1869 he began leaning Russian in order to be able to read this work. Marx came to consider Russia the country in which the outbreak of the Revolution was most likely to happen, and in his research for the successive volumes of 'Das Kapital', he primarily used the present work along with works of A. Hoshelev.

Flerovsky painted a vivid picture of the growing destitution of the peasantry following the introduction of capitalist social relations in agriculture. "the conclusion he drew was that everything possible should be done to prevent capitalism from making further headway and to utilize, instead, the potentialities of the peasant commune." (Walicki, A History of Russian Thought).

"I have read the first 150 pages of Flerovsky's book (they are taken up by Siberia, North Russia and Astrakhan). This is the first work to tell the truth about Russian economic conditions. The man is a determined enemy of what he calls 'Russian optimism.' I never held very rosy views of this communistic Eldorado, but Flerovsky surpasses all expectations. In fact it is wonderful and undoubtedly a sign of change that such a thing could be printed in Petersburg at all [...] In any case this is the most important book which has appeared since your Condition of the Working Class" (Marx's letter to Engels in Manchester. London, 10 February, 1870.)

Marx later stated: "The work by Flerovskii is a real discovery for Europe. Russian optimism which has been put about on the continent even by so-called revolutionists, has been mercilessly exposed in this work. The virtues of the book are not diminished if I say that it is in several places not fully up to critical standards, from the purely scholarly point of view. This is a work of a serious observer, a dispassionate laborer, and an impartial critic, a powerful artist, etc..."

As an open revolutionary the majority of Flerovsky's works were banned in Russia. This present first edition was banned but sold so quickly that it was not possible to destroy the whole run. All 2465 copies of the second edition from 1872 were destroyed.

Order-nr.: 57295

DKK 28.000,00