The Friedrich Engels & Karl Marx Tours 2019/20
This is such an interesting tour - I can highly recommend it - if you love history and you love Manchester and want to get it glued together by an amazing wordsmith than this tour is one not to miss! Patrick Wetzels, after an Engels' tour, November, 2017
Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx were the fathers of communism. In 2019 Engels will be 199 years old but Marx will be the big 201.
Engels lived, on and off, for 22 years in Manchester and during this time Marx would stay with Engels for long periods. The city appeared in the 1840s to confirm for both of them the truth behind their ideas of how society was ordered and where it was inevitably headed. It seemed clear to them how the tensions being created in this new industrial society between 'bourgeoisie' and 'proletariat' was creating such overwhelming pressure a crisis must come leading to the dictatorship of the proletariat and thus on to full communism.
The fact they filtered their ideas as young men through the experience of Manchester was crucial. As the well-known historian Asa Briggs wrote in Victorian Cities, ‘If Engels had lived not in Manchester...his conception of class and his theories of the role of class might have been very different. In this case Marx might have been not a communist but a currency reformer. The fact that Manchester was taken to be the symbol of the age in the 1840s was of central importance in modern world history.’
There are several tours this year, the first on Saturday 23 February is close to the publication date of the Communist Manifesto in 1848. The second on Sunday 5 May takes place on the occasion of Marx's birthday. These follow Engels and Marx's footsteps around the city and reveal a dynamic, fascinating and diverting story. They also paint a picture of Manchester at, perhaps, its time of greatest international significance.There's drinking to be had too, a favourite pastime of the two Germans.
The tour on Wednesday 28 August at 6pm marks (so to speak) an epic encounter. This tour examines how one of the great double-act friendships in history was shaped by Manchester in the 1840s. Engels had met Marx in late 1843 but it was a cold encounter. When they met again on 28 August 1844 they became lifelong close friends but also, and this is the surprise, profound intellectual collaborators until Marx’s death in 1883. It’s rare that the two combine to such a dramatic extent with such dramatic effect.
On Thursday 28 November at 6pm there's a birthday celebration, in this case it's Friedrich Engels 198th birthday. This tour takes in areas of the city Engels knew well, visits the sites of the buildings and the slums, such as Little Ireland, he featured in his famous book The Condition of the Working Class in England. It finishes at First Street to view the recently erected statue of Engels. There will be time then to toast Engels' birthday.
On Saturday 30 November the final Engels and Marx examines the areas where Engels' partner, Mary Burns, lived. The tour ends up in a desolate graveyard with a demonstration of the eloquence of Engels' writing. Of course, the tour includes a pub stop to toast Engels and wish him many happy (few days late) returns.
For most tours meet outside John Rylands Library, Deansgate, City centre, M3 3EH, 5 minutes before your tour time.
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