Karl Max was born on May 5, 1818 – today, two centuries later, his thoughts continue to influence economic, political and philosophical movements.
Marx, who was a German philosopher and economist once said, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” This wise quote reflects his depth of wisdom and extent of thought.
Today, as we celebrate his birthday, let’s look at some really incredible facts about him:
1. He is connected to Philips!
Unbelievable isn’t it? Karl Marx’s mother’s family, eventually founded Philips Electronics. His mother, Henrietta Pressburg belonged to a wealthy business family.
2. He loved children:
Marx’s parents, Henrietta Pressburg and Heinrich Marx had nine children. Marx had seven out of whom four died in childhood! He is known to have kept funny nicknames like ‘Qui-Qui’ for all of his children and was deeply attached to them.
3. He lived in poverty:
Marx had incurred enormous debt as a student for which his father had helped him out. In his later life, his friend Friedrich Engels (Marx and Engels are both authors of the famous book The Communist Manifesto) helped him out by giving him a fixed sum of money every month to make ends meet. In fact, after Engels passed away, he left Marx’s daughters a large share of his $4.8 million estate!
4. He had a really interesting college life:
According to learnodo-newtonic.com, ‘From 1830 to 1835, he attended the Trier High School. In October 1835, at the age of 17, he entered the University of Bonn. While at Bonn, Marx joined the Poets’ Club, a group containing political radicals; and was co-president of Trier Tavern Club drinking society. At one point, he was imprisoned for drunkenness.’ Many don’t know that Marx had accepted a duel and was shot at in college!
5. He was influenced by the ideas of Hegel:
German philosopher, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, was one of the figures that greatly influenced Marx. He was young when he joined a group that studied Hegelian ideas. Hegel is known for his absolute idealism and concept of the spirit. Eventually, Marx was critical about the philosopher’s metaphysical ideas but adopted his method of reasoning.
6. Apart from The Communist Manifesto, Marx wrote some fiction that was never published in his lifetime:
Before penning down The Communist Manifesto which was completed in six-seven weeks, Marx started by writing fiction. He wrote a novella titled ‘Scorpion And Felix’ in 1837 and a play ‘Oulanem’ in 1839. He is known to have written some love poems as well. But these were never published when he was alive. He also wrote for various newspapers and once worked for The New York Daily Tribune.
7. He is rumoured to have had a son with his housekeeper:
Marx’s wife, Jenny von Westphalen who was four years elder to him were childhood friends. However, there are uncertain claims of Marx having borne his housekeeper turned friend, Helene Demuth, a son named Freddy. The truth, however, is unknown.
Marx suffered from a variety of illnesses during his lifetime and was constantly in pain. He passed away on March 14, 1883.