Letters of Marx and Engels 1842

Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge
In Dresden

Written: Bonn, April 23 [1842];
Source: Marx Engels Collected Works Vol 1, pp. 387-388;
Publisher: International Publishers (1975);
First Published: journal Documente des Socialismus, Bd I, 1902;
Translated: Clemens Dutt;
Transcribed: S. Ryan.

Dear Friend,

You must not become impatient if my contributions are delayed for a few days more – but only for a few days. Bauer will probably inform you orally that this month, owing to all kinds of external muddles, it has been almost impossible for me to work.

Nevertheless, I have almost finished. I shall send you four articles: 1) “On Religious Art,” 2) “On the Romantics,” 3) “The Philosophical Manifesto of the Historical School of Law” 4) "The Positivist Philosophers", whom I have teased a little. These articles, in content, are connected.

You will receive the article “On Religious Art” as a duodecimo extract, for the work has steadily grown into almost book dimensions, and I have been drawn into all kinds of investigations which will still take a rather long time.

I have abandoned my plan to settle in Cologne, since life there is too noisy for me, and an abundance of good friends does not lead to better philosophy.

I have sent the Rheinische Zeitung a long article on our last Rhine Province Assembly with a light introduction about the Preussische Staats-Zeiutng. In connection with the debates on the press I have returned again to the question of censorship and freedom of the press, examining it from other viewpoints.

Thus, Bonn remains my residence for the time being; after all, it would be a pity if no one remained here for the holy men to get angry with.

Yesterday Hasse came from Greifswald, in regard to whom the only thing I have admired is his enormous top-boots, like those of a village priest. He spoke, too, just like the top-boot of a village priest, he knew nothing about anything, is preparing to publish a book in several volumes about the boring Anselm of Canterbury, on which he has been working for ten years. He thinks that the present critical trend is a moment which must be overcome. He speaks of religiosity as a product of life experience, by which he probably means his successful rearing of children and his fat belly, for fat bellies undergo all sorts of experiences and, as Kant says: if it goes behind it becomes an F., if it goes upwards it becomes religious inspiration. What a man this pious Hasse is with his religious constipation!

We were very much amused with what you wrote in your letters about Vatke’s lack of a “full heart.” This super-clever, diplomatic Vatke, who would so much like to be the greatest critic and the greatest believer who always knows everything better than anyone else, this Vatke has for one party no heart, and for the other no head. Hic jacet Vatke – a notable example of what the passion for cards and religious music leads to.

Fichte, who has wrapped himself in the mantle of his unpopularity, has spread the half-ambiguous rumour that he has been invited to Tubingen. The faculty is not meeting his wish to be held fast by an increase in salary.

Sack has made a trip to Berlin with the most pious intentions to speculate on the insanity of his brother and to get himself appointed in his place.

Nothing but wars and debauchery, says Thersites, and if the university here cannot be reproached with wars, at least there is no lack of debauchery.

Do you not want to carry out your plan of a trip to the Rhine?