Terrel Carver assumes that existing biographies of Engels unfairly seek to explain his ideas in relation to Marx and seek to reconstruct the life journey, especially the ideological journey, of young Engels. He proposes two arguments: first, Engels' ideological growth had no direct purpose or direction and was full of uncertainties; but also, second, that the young Engels' theoretical achievements have been unduly underestimated as they were much more profound than Marx's, such that Marx was the main beneficiary of their initial meeting. One problem with Carver’s argument is that his new insights are often not that new at all. His anti-teleological Engels is a liberal, but this is a more-or-less static form of liberalism that seems innocent of any immanent mechanism through which Engels’s trajectory toward revolutionary socialism might be understood. “Engels vs. Marx” is a trite trope. The proposition of “Engels vs. Marx” functions to deny the theory and practice of Marxist revolutionaries and politicians after Engels. This is something that the left academia should be vigilant about.
Liu, Nana and Xia, Yumeng
"Young Engels Is Still Engels: A Response to Terrell Carver,"
Class, Race and Corporate Power: Vol. 11:
2, Article 11.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/classracecorporatepower/vol11/iss2/11