Letter to Ludwig Kugelmann, January 11, 1868

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Dear Kugelmann

D'abord[1] my best happy new years to your wife, Fränzchen and yourself. And then my best thanks for the Jupiter and for the interest you display in doing propaganda and fooling the German press. As our friend Weerth,[2] too early dead, used to sing:

Es gibt nichts schöneres auf der Welt
Als seine Feinde zu beissen,
Als über alle die plumpen Gesellen
Seine schlechte Witze zu reissen![3]

With all due respect to your medical authority, you have too low an opinion of the English, German and French doctors, whom I have consulted and still consult here, if you think that they cannot distinguish anthrax (carbuncles) from furuncles, particularly here in England – the land of carbuncles, which is actually a proletarian illness.

And even if the doctors could not distinguish between the two, the patient who knows both sorts of horrors, as I do, could do so; for the subjective impression they make is quite different, although, as far as I know, no doctor has as yet succeeded in making an exact theoretical diagnosis of the two. It is only in the last few years that I have been persecuted with the thing. Before that it was a complete stranger to me.

At the moment of writing to you I am not quite better and not yet able to work. Again several weeks lost and not even pour le roi de Prusse![4]

The thing that appears most clearly in Herr Dühring’s criticism[5] is – fear. I should be very glad if you could get for me Dühring’s book Gegen die Verkleinerer Carey’s[6] and von Thünen’s Der isolierte Staat mit Bezug auf die Landwirtschaft[7] or something like that (together with a note of the price). Such orders from here take too long.

Finally I would ask you to be good enough to send me about 12 copies of my photograph (only the full-faced one). About a dozen friends are plaguing me for them.

Enclosed, for Mrs Kugelmann, the photographs of my eldest daughter Jenny and of Eleanor, who sends her best greetings to Fränzchen.

Ad vocem Liebknecht: Let him play le petit grand homme.[8] for a little while. All that will turn out for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

I had all sorts of personal anecdotes to relate, but shall save them for the next time, when the writing position no longer troubles me.

K Marx

One of my friends here, who dabbles a lot in phrenology, said yesterday when looking at the photograph of your wife: A great deal of wit! So you see, phrenology is not the baseless art which Hegel imagined.

  1. First of all – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.
  2. Georg Weerth (1821-1856) – Revolutionary German poet; member of the Communist League and intimate friend of Marx and Engels, with whom he worked on the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (1848-49). Engels called him ‘the first poet of the German proletariat’ – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.
  3. There’s nothing nicer in the world / Than foes of his to bite on, / Than all the fellows ponderous / To try his jokes so trite on!
  4. For the King of Prussia – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.
  5. Dühring’s review of Das Kapital appearing in the Ergänzungsblätter zur Kenntnis der Gegenwart, Volume 3, no 3 – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.
  6. Against the Belittlers of Carey – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.
  7. The Isolated State in its Relation to Agriculture – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.
  8. The great man in miniature – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.