Marx's Concept of Man

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Marx's Concept of Man
Marx's Concept of Man, 1961 paperback edition.jpg
Cover of the 1961 paperback edition
AuthorErich Fromm
CountryUnited States
SubjectMarx's theory of human nature
PublisherFrederick Ungar Publishing Co.
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover and Paperback)

Marx's Concept of Man is a 1961 book about Karl Marx's theory of human nature by the psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, in which the author portrayed Marx as a humanist and existentialist thinker. The work sold widely thanks to the popularity of Marx's early writings, which was a product of the existentialism of the 1940s.


Fromm portrayed Marx as a humanist and existentialist thinker,[1] and compared Marxism to Zen Buddhism.[2] He praised Reason and Revolution (1941), one of Herbert Marcuse's books on Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and provided selections from several of Marx's works,[3] including a translation of the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 by Tom Bottomore,[4] professor at the London School of Economics.[5] Fromm briefly discussed the view of the Marxist philosopher György Lukács, noting that in History and Class Consciousness (1923) Lukács viewed Marx as an "eschatological thinker."[6]


Marx's Concept of Man sold widely because the 1940s fashion for existentialism made Marx's early writings popular, according to the political scientist David McLellan, who considered Fromm's work a typical example of the favorable reception of the young Marx.[2] Alexander Welsh reviewed Marx's Concept of Man in The New Republic.[7] The philosopher Hazel Barnes compared Fromm's view of Marx and Marxism to that of the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre in the introduction to her 1963 translation of Sartre's Search for a Method (1957).[8] Rainer Funk, author of a biography of Fromm, wrote that the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 were published for the first time in English in Fromm's work, the translation by Bottomore having been done at Fromm's suggestion.[5]



  1. ^ McLellan 1995. p. 441.
  2. ^ a b McLellan 1975. p. 79.
  3. ^ Fromm 1975. p. ix.
  4. ^ McLellan 1995. p. 267.
  5. ^ a b Funk 2000. p. 147.
  6. ^ Fromm 1975. p. 69.
  7. ^ Welsh 1961. p. 22.
  8. ^ Barnes 1968. pp. xxix-xxx.


  • Barnes, Hazel; Sartre, Jean-Paul (1968). Search for a Method. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-394-70464-9.
  • Fromm, Erich (1975). Marx's Concept of Man. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. ISBN 0-8044-6161-9.
  • Funk, Rainer (2000). Erich Fromm: His Life and Ideas. New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8264-1224-6.
  • McLellan, David (1975). Marx. Glasgow: Fontana. ISBN 0-333-63947-2.
  • McLellan, David (1995). Karl Marx: A Biography. London: Papermac. ISBN 0-333-63947-2.
  • McLellan, David (1995). The Thought of Karl Marx: An Introduction. London: Papermac. ISBN 0-333-63948-0.
  • Welsh, Alexander (1961). "Fromm's Effort to Rescue Marx (Book)". The New Republic. 145 (24).  – via EBSCO's Academic Search Complete (subscription required)

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