I’ve previously posted about David Harvey’s A Companion to Marx’s Capital: Volume 2 being published. I’ve now had a chance to read it, and to my mind it’s even better than the first volume A Companion to Marx’s Capital which appeared in 2010.
As Harvey notes at the outset, Volume II is a much harder read than Volume I, and he hints at the textual problems in the book due to Engels’s editing. He says nothing about these; instead working with the text we have. But instead of just working on the content, he provides multiple illustrations to help set the ideas in context and to make them speak to our present. As he notes, while in Volume I Marx provided lots of political and literary examples, Volume II is largely devoid of them. Harvey provides them, with the literary examples being especially good – from nineteenth century issues that Marx was grappling with, to the current financial crisis and neoliberal response; from Émile Zola to Hilary Mantel. To make sense of some of the parts there are extended discussions of chapters from Volume III, though this is to add the exposition of Volume II, not a thorough analysis of that volume. The chapter on ‘The Time and Space of Capital’ is, to be expected, excellent. He also weaves personal anecdotes into the story, from his PhD research on Kent hop growing, to the writing of his The Limits to Capital, to his love of marmalade!
Highly recommended, and looking forward to a companion to Volume III. Videos of the lectures on which these books are based are available at davidharvey.org