Bauer and Stirner

Brian Basgen: Can anyone explain to me, or point me to a reference, where I can learn the historical context of these two persons. What primarily interests me is why Marx focused on them in the German Ideology, that is, what kind of recognition did these two receive, and for how old was such recognition, in order to prompt Marx to write such a through and damning critique of their works.

Bauer and Stirner were Young Hegelians...

former, known as radical theologian, supervised Marx's 1841 doctoral dissertation (his loss of professorship at Bonn for holding views unacceptable to Prussian gov't had some impact on M's inability to begin academic career)...Marx's 1843 essay *On the Jewish Question* argues against Bauer who opposed right of Jewish political emancipation so long as they remained Jews...in contrast, M argues that granting full rights was consistent with bourgeois society although they are insufficient for human emancipation (Paul Avrich suggests that B's view angered Marx who had witnessed his father - a non-practicing Jew - be forced to convert to Christianity to keep his job)...

Otto Bauer and his brother Edgar were so-called "Holy Family" in Marx & Engels' book of the same name...M&E chastise B brothers for holding to view that 'the Spirit' is a progressive force in history and castigate them for conservative politics...

re. Stirner...his 1844 *The Ego and Its Own* was received favorably in Germany...Marx rejected S's extreme individualism and nihilism... moreover, he didn't like fact that Stirner had labeled him a devotee of Feuerbach...

Avrich devotes a few pages to Marx & Bauer and an entire chapter to Marx & Stirner in _Karl Marx and the Anarchists_...

perhaps Lenin (in an 1895 piece on Engels) said it best...in a reference to the Bauers that could characterize Stirner & Feuerbach as well, L writes:

'These gentlemen preached a criticism which stood above all reality, above parties and politics, which rejected all practical activity, and which only "critically" contemplated the surrounding world and the events going on within it. These gentlemen, the Bauers, looked down on the proletariat as an uncritical mass. Marx and Engels vigorously opposed this absurd and harmful tendency.'

Michael Hoover