The author deals with Marx’s intellectual evolution during the time he worked on his doctorate thesis and immediately before. He describes, for instance, Marx’s “romantic” period previous to any influence by Hegel.
More essential, however, is Hillmann’s exact definition of the post-Hegel currents in Hegelianism and the specific element in Left Hegelianism – the elaboration of “self-consciousness” and the notion of “praxis”; pre-Feuerbach criticism of religion is a factor in this process.
The author’s disillusions about Marxism-in-practice have motivated this painstaking analysis which, as it is restricted to a short span of time, is fairly exhaustive in its reproduction of the intellectual context and climate.
Moreover, the author extensively quotes from studies on the young Marx which he often criticizes sharply, with polemical remarks, for instance, on Popitz and Löwith (absolute identity, Hegel-Marx), and especially on Cornu.
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