My Capital Commentary – Do You Use Commentaries When Reading?


This evening, while I’m in between chapters in Karl Marx’s Capital, I wanted to take a few moments to talk about my reading commentary to the book by David Harvey entitled:  A Companion To Marx’s Capital.  This posting is a follow up to my post on Supplemental Readings and Help.

Now, usually, I don’t read commentaries and/or Cliffs Notes/SparkNotes, for works I tackle.  However, in this case, I thought it would definitely be worthwhile given how complicated of a work Marx’s Capital is.   However, now that I’m 7 chapters through Capital, I thought I would take some time to discuss my experiences using a commentary.

Overall, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how Professor Harvey has approached his discussion of the work.  He’s broken up the chapters and parts in good, logical sections, so it doesn’t seem like it’s overkill.  What makes it really work is he references pages and passages from the book, and those pages are exactly those in my version of Capital.  Those references have made it easy for me to go back to those pages in the book and read for more context, especially in those areas that I may have either forgotten/or need a refresher on.

I definitely appreciate the fact that Professor Harvey speaks in terms and concepts that are easily understandable.  I feel that’s important because that approach allows for those with a wide variety of backgrounds to feel comfortable tackling this difficult piece of work.  It’s definitely allowed me to read Capital and to be more at ease with the concepts that Marx presents.

Generally speaking, I’m glad I splurged and picked up David Harvey’s book.  It’s been a great help in understanding those difficult concepts that I otherwise would’ve written off as over my head.  It has made reading Capital, so far, a much more enjoyable experience than when I was reading Grundrisse.

Have you used a commentary and/or Cliffs Notes/SparkNotes when  reading difficult works?

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About Jeremy

Husband, book lover, Civil War Buff. If I could read for a living I would, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills!

2 Responses to “My Capital Commentary – Do You Use Commentaries When Reading?”

  1. Oh, absolutely. I’m a novice reader at this point, and I had to consult notes on my first Shakespeare a couple months ago. I also have an annotated copy of Austen’s Persuasion I’m looking forward to reading.

    For me, it’s like reading in a classroom. No shame in that, I think. We can go solo and understand some, or go with a team, and learn to see more deeply. I’d rather see deeply.

  2. This time around is the second time I’ve utilized a commentary of some kind to learn more from difficult works. The first time I did it was when I read Dante. I’m so glad I did or else I would’ve been left scratching my head.

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