The Condition of the Working Class in England

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Overview


This, the first book written by Engels during his stay in Manchester from 1842 to 1844, is the best known and in many ways the most astute study of the working class in Victorian England. The fluency of his writing, the personal nature of his insights, and his talent for mordant satire all combiine to make Engels's account of the lives of the victims of early industrial change an undeniable classic.

About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

The study of England's factory, mine and farm workers, written when Engels was 24, is a savage indictment of thje bourgeoisie.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199555888
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/3/2009
  • Series: Oxford World's Classics Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 623,260
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Westphalia in 1820, Friedrich Engels was the son of a textile manufacturer. After military training in Berlin and already a convert to communism, Engels went to Manchester in 1842 to represent the family firm. A relationship with a mill-hand, Mary Bums, and friendship with local Owenites and Chartists helped to inspire his famous early work, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844. Collaboration with Marx began in 1844 and in 1847 he composed the first drafts of the Manifesto. After playing an active part in the German revolutions, Engels returned to work in Manchester until 1870, when he moved to London. He not only helped Marx financially, but reinforced their shared position through his own expositions of the new theory. After Marx’s death, he prepared the unfinished volumes of Capital for publication. He died in London in 1895.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 7
Preface to the First German Edition 18
Preface to the English Edition 21
Introduction 37
The Industrial Proletariat 54
The Great Towns 57
Competition 108
Irish Immigration 122
Results 126
Single Branches of Industry. Factory-Hands 163
The Remaining Branches of Industry 216
Labour Movements 239
The Mining Proletariat 267
The Agricultural Proletariat 286
The Attitude of the Bourgeoisie towards the Proletariat 301
To the Working-Classes of Great Britain 323
Index 326
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2007

    A reviewer

    For most, Charles Dickens is the only source we've encountered regarding the awful human misery of the early industrial revolution. However, Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx reported on it, too. Indeed, most of their criticisms were far more applicable to the raw capitalism of contemporary England than their native Germany. Engels stayed in Manchester, the premier industrial city of the time, during the early 1840's to research his book. And he produced a devastating indictment of the truly miserable and life-threatening living conditions he found. Unlike Marx, Engels had a pronounced flair for writing he makes it a fascinating, eye-opening journey back through time. The topics he includes cover: struggling labor movements, the denigrating effects of immigration on domestic workers (due to competing subsistence-cost labor), the ignorance and crippling of child workers, the sexual exploitation of women workers, the displacement of male heads of household by lower-cost and more pliant women/children, the unbelievable filth and subhuman housing conditions workers endured, the dangerous and unhealthy working conditions of miners/factory workers, rampant substance abuse, doping of children by babysitters, the total lack of legal redress for the poor, the displacement of labor by machinery, and the role of unbridled competition in perpetrating economic distress. While we all know communism has failed, its rise was due to these very real and serious problems, some of which remain with many Western workers today. And most of these conditions do very much persist in emerging economies right now. So, even though the book is well over 150 years old it is still highly valid! The main fault of course with Marx/Engels' communist philosophy is that ALL humans are greedy and lazy - it's just that the clever ones (whether they originate from 'bourgeous' or 'working' classes) will always exploit the others. And it doesn't matter whether the system is capitalist or communist - those at the top will always exploit those below for personal advantage. Probably the best response has been the progressive social reform in Western nations over the last 100 years. (Revolutions and dictatorships usually only lead to mass murder.)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2013

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