My daughter is studying sociology and I get to help her with her homework and read her textbooks. The flat, dull tone of would-be scientific writing is enough to drive you mad.
The prose style of Karl Marx, according to some people the founder of modern sociology, is the exact opposite.
It is a constant surprise how rhetorical Marx is: pithy poetic phrases, bombastic generalisations, baggy lists, nifty antitheses, classical references, all these are deployed in a tone dominated by sarcasm and satire – Marx constant expects the ‘bourgeoisie’ to do its worst and is rarely disappointed.
This blog post simply aims to highlight the importance of rhetorician, of techniques of rhetorical persuasion, in Marx’s writings.
It’s based on a close reading of Karl Marx Political Writings Volume 2: Surveys from Exile edited by David Fernbach – specifically from Marx’s two long essays about the political turmoil in France between 1848…
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