Marx's early writings are notebooks dating back to his
University life, as a student at the Faculty of Philosophy in Berlin, where on
April 15, 1841 he graduated with a dissertation “Differenz der
demokritischen und epikureischen Naturphilosophie” (Difference on the
philosophy of nature between Democritus and Epicurus), the first work to be
included in the list of his works. In the following year he began his
journalistic activity by collaborating with the Rheinische Zeitung: his
first article is Observations of a Rhenish citizen on the recent censorship
directions in Prussia. Also for the Rheinische Zeitung Marx writes
the article Debates on the law on thefts of wood. In 1843 the notes
dedicated to the philosophy of the Hegelian state law are written, which will
be published in 1927 under the title Kritik des Hegelschen Staatrechts
(Criticism of Hegelian philosophy of state law); in 1843 also the two essays
collected in the lone issue of "Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher"
("Franco-German Annals") are published, entitled Die Judenfrage
(On the Jewish question) and Zur kritik der Hegelschen Rechtphilosphie
(On the criticism of the Hegel's philosophy of right. Introduction). After
moving to Paris at the end of 1843, Marx started economics studies, testified by notebooks,
published posthumously in 1932, known as Ökonomisch-philosophische
Manuskripte aus dem Jahre 1844 (Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844
). In those years the intellectual collaboration with Engels was consolidated,
and in 1845 they published their first volume together: Die heilige Familie
oder Kritik der h Kritik. Gegen Bruno Bauer und Konsorten (The Holy Family
or Criticism of Critical Criticism, against Bruno Bauer and Associates).
“In the year 1842-43, as editor of the Rheinische
Zeitung, I first found myself in the embarrassing position of having to discuss
what is known as material interests. The deliberations of the Rhenish Landtag
on forest thefts and the division of landed property [...] the debates on free
trade and protective tariffs caused me in the first instance to turn my
attention to economic questions. […].
The general conclusion at which I arrived and which,
once reached, became the guiding principle of my studies can be summarised as
follows. In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter Into
definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of
production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material
forces of production. […]. Frederick Engels, […] arrived by another road
(compare his Situation of the working class in England) at the same
result as I”.
(Marx K., A critique of political economy, trad.
It. Emma Cantimori Mezzamonti, in Marx, Engels, Complete Works Volume XXX,
Editori Riuniti, Rome 1986, pages 297-298)