Mistranslating Marx? The "idiocy of rural life"

Joncas, Graham
http://linguisticcapital.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/mistranslating-marx-the-idiocy-of-rural-life/

Publisher:  Linguistic Capital
Date Written:  27/09/2011
Year Published:  2011  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX19917

Given the concern with changing conditions in rural society in much of this issue (as represented by the work of Amin and William Hinton) we thought that readers would be interested in the origin of a misunderstanding that surrounds Marx's thoughts on rural life. One often hears the criticism that Marxism was from the beginning an extreme modernizing philosophy that looked with complete disdain on rural existence. Did not Marx himself in The Communist Manifesto, it is frequently asked, refer to "the idiocy of rural life"? Here a misconception has arisen through the mistranslation of a single word in the English translation of the Manifesto.

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