Capital Volume One

Guys I have been trying to read Capital, and I'm about 150 pages in, but I am really having trouble enjoying it. Is there something I'm doing wrong? Should I just read an abridged edition and come back? If so which one? It is a very dry book at times, what do you guys think about it?
INB4 the more interesting parts come later and the recommended reading "spoiled" the parts I've read

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It's very dry. It's not an an enjoyable read, but once you get through it, it's very rewarding.

I think Karl should shut up about linen.

I just read the wikipedia page and a summary secondary lit.

I don't trust Wikipedia to do anything other than find me sources.

How would this help?

i'd probably want to join a capital reading group. at least online.

Oxford World's Classics has a great abridgement of it; condenses the work into about 350 pages, and then in addition has a chapter excluded from the original work, and important chapters from Volume 3.

Very good imo.

Also, the interesting parts do come later, and in fact Marx acknowledged this and in a letter recommended that those who cannot be bothered with the "dry" abstract beginnings start with "The Working Day".

Of course, if you actually want to properly understand Marxian economics, just read the abstract part with the recognition that the whole book isn't like that.

Lack of practice, I'd say. Simply reading theory is always boring. Discussing things in a group (at the very least, attempt to re-phrase Marx or make some practical examples) should both improve understanding and reduce fatigue of further reading (since you'll be able to handle discussed concepts better).

Absolutely based Lenin hat, thanks. I'm going to read from there and take a lap back later. I will be checking out the abridged version. Wait where do I find that abridged version and is there a PDF?

This isn't a romance novel, it's economic theory. Why would that be particularly enjoyable? Not only that, but Marx's writing style is shit-awful and super dry (Unlike Kropotkin, for example). It's always a struggle. You read Marx to learn, not to have fun.

This is patently untrue. I enjoyed Wage Labour and thought Critique of the Gotha Programme was good. Marx also has really entertaining examples, for example the bee-architect example. It really is fun to learn, I was specifically having trouble with parts of Capital. Nice subtle shilling btw. How would you even know his style is bad, did you read it in German? I imagine the style is going to be partially dependent on the translator.

You don't enjoy it, you struggle with it! It's not a novella, it's a dry work of political economy, and going through it takes mental labour.

Engels was always the better writer of the duo. He always got immediately to the point and was very clear about what he's discussing. Engels liked addressing topics individually to their completion before moving on to another topic. You can say Marx was smarter, but he liked using language that addresses everything at once and as a result can be hard to read.

Marx & Engels > Engels alone > Marx alone

Well I enjoy struggling with it, I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy lol. Only parts of it are dry, I was just wondering if the whole thing was. If so, I was going to go over an abridged version, and then go back to the full version. Do you seriously read these theory books without enjoying them? Unsurprising Anons here have takes hot like the sun.

I've heard similar. I know that Engels specifically stated that he knew Marx would outshine him. Offtopic, but I like how Lenin writes.

no mate, it's really fucking boring

It is very dry but it is essential to understanding how not only the capitalist system but industrial production in general functions. With every chapter I read I come out knowing more, despite it being dry as sand.

Have you read any works before Capital? The biggest mistake you could make is starting your reading with fucking capital of all things.

The first three chapters are probably the hardest part of reading it for the first time. After that, it gets a bit easier. There will still be some tedious parts from time to time (especially when he just regurgitates factory inspectors' reports), but the parts where it's Marx's own writing are generally enjoyable, I thought. I am not sure if the abridged versions are any good. If you are actually interested in understanding Marx and his critique, it would be probably best to read the whole thing - it may take a bit longer, but as others have pointed out, it's more rewarding.

The style in German is actually worse. There are some bits sprinkled throughout Mary which are great, but most of it is tedious. Volume 2 is the worst. He also had a very unclear way of referring to literature, theatre, and so on, in that he often didn't write: This person is like this character in this play by this author, instead he did a drive-by reference to that and you have to figure out what is meant. And often, something isn't just a quote without reference, but more like a parody of a quote, a variation.

Which lead me to notice how often I do something like that myself when I talk to people I know well. For instance, I (and most people reading this I guess) often make a reference to The Simpsons, without saying it is one, and it isn't even a quote, but basically a variation of it. There was recently a vid by Lauren Southern interviewing a homosexual, and I said, I'm seeing double here! Four gays. This isn't very unclear communication, because this quip doesn't require that you know the Simpsons. Now, consider how shows like Family Guy often make references to pop culture. It's in a way that it isn't even a joke, it is rather something that is like a shadow of an imitation of a half-joke or something, a vague reminder: Hey, remember this shit? And it comes at the cost of making the plot incoherent. Marx isn't quite as bad as Family Guy, in that with Marx the cost of not understanding is only there if you don't get the reference, whereas with Family Guy understanding all the references doesn't make the plot coherent. But what Marx does is never funny enough that if you have to look up the stuff it still entertains. Imagine 200 years from now some poor souls will have to do research involving reading the type of these social media pop-culture-BS ironic conversations. It's going to be pure torture. (It's already really annoying when people in some international communication are doing it, assuming everybody watches the same shows.)

An incredibly tedious thing is that you have this section for footnotes that in places gets really huge, and then you have this second level of footnotes by some modern editor explaining some references, and then you have these long sentences everywhere that are ripped apart between pages, so you have to go back and forth because the main body has a sentence broken up between pages, and the footnotes as well, and the measure units are totally weird and explained in an appendix. There are several German editions and people tend to think that the newer ones are better, but apparently Engels made one of those based on scribblings by Marx that were especially intended for the English version (Marx was already dead when Engels made that one) and the changes don't really help if your cultural background is Germany and the German language. In December of this year, Thomas Kuczynski published a new edition of Das Kapital that is more readable: His main innovation is he just shoved the footnotes by Marx into the main body of the text (made in a way so you know that they are supposed to be the footnotes). But he couldn't be arsed to use modern spelling (so it's Werth instead of Wert etc.) or to give translations for every piece of Latin.

This. Highlighting key points and terminology, writing in the margins with counterarguments and connections you make, and most importantly writing notes and summaries will really help. One thing to try would be keeping a journal of what you are learning from it and how it can apply to 'today's economy.

Another thing is that a lot of what makes Capital fun to read is the literary references he makes. If you don't get the references than this will just go over your head. I have Try reading Dante's Inferno before you read Capital. Some of the references are elaborated on in the footnotes depending on what edition you have.

I don't really find it all that dry once you get into it.

Fuck you linen is life.

Coats > linen