ISBN 9780141191119,Origin of the Family; Private Property a

Origin of the Family; Private Property a



Penguin Books India

Publication Year 2010

ISBN 9780141191119

ISBN-10 0141191112


Number of Pages 235 Pages
Language (English)


The modern individual family is founded upon the open or concealed domestic slavery of the wife' The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884), was a provocative and profoundly influential critique of the Victorian nuclear family. Tracing the evolution of family units from prehistory to the present, Engels argued that the traditional monogamous household was in fact a recent construct, closely bound up with capitalist, property-owning societies. Under this patriarchal system, women were servants and, effectively, prostitutes. Only Communism, Engels argued, would herald the dawn of communal living and a new sexual freedom and, in turn, the role of the state would become superfluous. Though it has since been criticized for its anthropological arguments, Engels's work influenced millions, both as an inspiration for feminists and as a justification for policies in countries such as China. It still resonates today as a fearless assault on sexual inequality. Tristram Hunt's introduction to this edition discusses the inspiration for The Origin, places it in the context of Marxist historical materialism, explores the tensions between Engels's writing and his life, and analyses critical responses to the text. This edition also contains notes and a glossary.