Jenny von Westphalen

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Jenny von Westphalen, 1830s

Johanna Bertha Julie Jenny von Westphalen (February 12, 1814 – December 2, 1881) was the wife of the philosopher Karl Marx. They became engaged in 1836 and married in 1843. They had seven children.

Background[edit]

Jenny von Westphalen was born in Salzwedel to a prominent family of the Prussian aristocracy. Her father, Ludwig von Westphalen (1770–1842), was a former widower with four previous children, who served as "Regierungsrat" in Salzwedel and in Trier. Her paternal grandfather "Edler" Christian Philip Heinrich von Westphalen (1723–1792) had been de facto "chief of staff" to Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick during the Seven Years' War. Her paternal grandmother, Jeanie Wishart (1742–1811), was a Scottish noble: her father George Wishart (1703–1785) was a direct descendent of the 9th Earl of Angus and Lady Agnes Keith, the latter in turn a direct descendant of King James I, and the royal House of Stuart,[1] while her mother's family were the Dukes of Argyll, for centuries Scotland's most powerful aristocratic family. Her mother, Amalia Julia Carolina von Westphalen (née Heubel), lived from 1780 to 1856. Jenny von Westphalen's brother Edgar Gerhard Julius Oscar Ludwig von Westphalen (1819–1890), was a schoolmate and friend of Karl Marx. Another brother, Ferdinand Otto Wilhelm Henning von Westphalen, was the conservative Interior Minister of Prussia, 1850–58. Although he was one of the leading conservative forces in 19th century Prussia, Ferdinand would remain on amiable terms with Karl and Jenny Marx.[2]

Marriage[edit]

Jenny von Westphalen and Karl Heinrich Marx regularly met each other as children. She was four years older than Karl. They became close friends as teenagers. Both of them were well-read and literary, and they soon began courting. According to Marx, she was the most beautiful girl in the town of Trier.[3] Her father, Ludwig von Westphalen, a friend of Marx's father, also befriended the teenage Marx, and would often go on walks with him, where they would discuss philosophy and English literature.[4] Jenny and Karl became engaged in 1836. They eventually married on June 19, 1843 in the Kreuznacher Pauluskirche (the Kreuznach church of Saint Paul), Bad Kreuznach.

Following their marriage, Karl and Jenny Marx moved to Rue Vaneau in Paris and befriended the German poet Heinrich Heine, who lived at Rue Matignon.

Children[edit]

Karl Marx (1818–1883), Friedrich Engels (1820–1895), and Marx's daughters: Jenny Caroline (1844–1883), Jenny Julia Eleanor (1855–1898), and Jenny Laura (1845–1911)

Karl and Jenny Marx had the following seven children, in chronological order:

  1. Jenny Caroline (1 May 1844 – 11 January 1883). Married Charles Longuet in 1872. She was a socialist activist. She wrote for the socialist press in France in the 1860s, most importantly in exposing British treatment of Fenian revolutionaries in Ireland. She died of bladder cancer, aged 38.
  2. Jenny Laura (26 September 1845 – 26 November 1911), born in Brussels, Belgium. Married Paul Lafargue in 1868. She was a socialist activist. Laura and her husband did decades of political work together, translating Marx's work into French, and spreading Marxism in France and Spain. She died in a suicide pact with her husband. She was 66.
  3. Charles Louis Henri Edgar (3 February 1847 in Brussels – 6. Mai 1855), "Mush" to family and friends, named for his uncle Edgar, the brother of Jenny von Westphalen. He died, aged 8.
  4. Henry Edward Guy ("Guido"; Henry Edward Guy 5 September 1849, born at London; died 19 November 1850, London, England).
  5. Jenny Eveline Frances ("Franziska"; 28 March 1851 – 14 April 1852)
  6. Jenny Julia Eleanor (16 January 1855 – 31 March 1898), born in London. She was a socialist activist. She committed suicide at the age of 43 by poisoning herself with prussic acid, after discovering that her long term partner, Edward Aveling, had secretly married a young actress named Eva Frye in June 1897.
  7. An unnamed child, born and died 6 July 1857 in London.

Exile[edit]

Jenny Carolina and Jenny Laura Marx

In 1844, Jenny traveled alone with her baby, "Jennychen", to visit her mother, the Caroline. In 1845, the French political police expelled Karl Marx and the pregnant Jenny: thus the birth of Laura took place in Brussels.

In 1848 the Brussels police detained Jenny and served an expulsion order. The Marxes returned to Paris and then moved to Cologne.

Revolutionary upsurges took place in many European countries in 1848, including the German states. The Prussian authorities had Karl Marx deported to France. He then left with his family for London in England.

Around 1849–1850 the Marxes lived at Dean Street in London. In 1856 the Marxes moved to Grafton Terrace, near Hampstead Hill in London, thanks to the money given to Jenny by her mother when she died (1856). 9 Grafton Terrace, then at the outskirts of "civilized" London, had a small garden and two floors with seven rooms, including the kitchen. Jenny wrote: "we are walking now steadfast to become bourgeois".[this quote needs a citation] Philosopher Leszek Kołakowski would write of the Marx family's time in London, "[Karl] Marx was notoriously incapable of keeping accounts, and Jenny was a regular customer of the London pawnbrokers."[5]

In later years Jenny Marx suffered from internal pains, diagnosed as liver cancer. Following a family visit to France, she died in London at the age of 67 on 2 December 1881. The family buried her in Highgate Cemetery, London.

Works[edit]

  • Short Sketch of an Eventful Life (1865–1866)[6]
  • Aus der Londoner Theaterwelt. In: Frankfurter Zeitung und Handelsblatt, Frankfurt am Main, No. 328, November 21, 1875
  • Londoner Saison. In: Frankfurter Zeitung und Handelsblatt, Frankfurt am Main, No. 95, April 4, 1876
  • Englische Shakespeare-Studien. In: Frankfurter Zeitung und Handelsblatt, Frankfurt am Main, No. 3, January 3, 1877
  • Shakespeares "Richard III" im Londoner Lyceum-Theater. In: Frankfurter Zeitung und Handelsblatt, Frankfurt am Main, No. 39, February 8, 1877
  • Vom Londoner Theater. In: Frankfurter Zeitung und Handelsblatt, Frankfurt am Main, No. 145, May 25, 1877
  • Die hervorragendesten Persönlichkeiten der englischen Salonwelt. In: Der Sprudel. Allgemeines deutsches Bade-Journal, Wien, IX. Jg., No. 3, May 18, 1879
  • Irving at home. In: Der Sprudel. Allgemeines deutsches Bade-Journal, Wien, IX. Jg., No. 7, June 23, 1879

Bibliography[edit]

  • Blumenberg, Werner (1998) [1962]. Karl Marx: An Illustrated History. New York: Verso. ISBN 1-85984-705-6. 
  • Durand, Pierre (1977). La Vida Amorosa de Marx [The love-life of Marx] (in Spanish). Libros Dogal. ISBN 84-7463-007-X. 
  • Durand, Pierre (1970). La vie amoureuse de Karl Marx; essai monographique [The love-life of Karl Marx: a monograph-essay] (in French). Paris: Julliard. 
  • Gabriel, Mary (2011). Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution. NY: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-06611-2. 
  • Giroud, Françoise (October 1992). Jenny Marx o la mujer del diablo [Jenny Marx or the devil's wife] (in Spanish). P. Elias (trans). Barcelona: Editorial Planeta. ISBN 84-08-00109-4. 
  • Giroud, Françoise (1992). Jenny Marx, ou, La femme du diable [Jenny Marx, or The Devil's Wife This book has too many errors, because she did not correct the text. Information from the Karl-Marx-Haus, Trier in 1992.] (in French). Paris: Robert Laffont. ISBN 2-221-06808-4. 
  • Henderson, William Otto (1976). The Life of Friedrich Engels 1. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-7146-4002-0. Retrieved 2009-10-08. 
  • Tucker, Robert C. (2001) [1961]. Philosophy & myth in Karl Marx (3rd ed.). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. ISBN 0-7658-0644-4. 
  • Boris Nikolajewski: Jenny Marx. Ein Lebensabriß. Dietz, Berlin 1931.
  • Otto Mänchen-Helfen, Otto / Boris Nikolajewski: Karl und Jenny Marx. Ein Lebensweg. Verlag der Bücherkreis, Berlin 1933.
  • Bert Andréas: Briefe und Dokumente der Familie Marx aus den Jahren 1862–1873 nebst zwei unbekannten Aufsätzen von Friedrich Engels. In: Archiv für Sozialgeschichte. 2. Bd. Verlag für Literatur und Zeitgeschehen, Hannover 1962.
  • Mohr und General. Erinnerungen an Marx und Engels. 2. durchges. Aufl. Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1965.
  • Bruno Kaiser: Jenny Marx als Theaterkritikerin. Zu einer bedeutsamen Wiederentdeckung. In: Beiträge zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung. Berlin 1966, Heft 6, S. 1031–1042.
  • Jürgen Reetz: Vier Briefe von Jenny Marx aus den Jahren 1856-1860. Trier 1970. (Schriften aus dem Karl-Marx-Haus Trier Heft 3)
  • Emile Bottigelli: Sieben unveröffentlichte Dokumente von Friedrich Engels. In: Friedrich Engels. 1820–1870. Referate Diskussionen Dokumente. Redaktion: Hans Pelger. Verlag für Literatur und Zeitgeschehen, Hannover 1971, S. 319–325
  • Johann Ludwig Graf Schwerin von Krosigk: Jenny Marx. Liebe und Leid im Schatten von Karl Marx. Eine Biographie nach Briefen, Tagebüchern und anderen Dokumenten. Staatsverl, Wuppertal 1975, ISBN 3-87770-015-2.
  • Heinrich Gemkow: Neu aufgefundene Briefe von Karl und Jenny Marx. In: Beiträge zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung. Berlin 1976, Heft 6, S. 1028 ff.
  • Ingrid Donner, Birgit Matthies: Jenny Marx über das Robert-Blum-Meeting am 9. November 1852 in London. In: Beiträge zur Marx-Engels-Forschung. 4, Berlin 1978, S. 69-78.
  • Luise Dornemann: Jenny Marx: Der Lebensweg einer Sozialistin. Dietz, Berlin 1980.
  • Heinrich Gemkow: Erbschaftsverzichterklärung von Jenny Marx. In: Beiträge zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung. 22.Jg. Berlin 1980, Heft 1, S. 59–62.
  • H. F. Peters: Die rote Jenny. Ein Leben mit Karl Marx. Kindler, München 1984, ISBN 3-463-00880-7.
  • „Sie können sich denken, wie mir oft zu Muthe war...“. Jenny Marx in Briefen an eine vertraute Freundin. Hrsg. von Wolfgang Schröder. Verlag für die Frau, Leipzig 1989.
  • Jenny Marx. Ein bewegtes Leben. Zusammengestellt und eingeleitet von Renate Schack. Illustrationen von Erika Baarmann. Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1989.
  • Manfred Kliem: Neue Presseveröffentlichungen von Jenny Marx über William Shakespeare und Henry Irving im "Sprudel" von 1879 entdeckt. In: Beiträge zur Marx-Engels-Forschung 28, Berlin 1989, S. 198–216.
  • Boris Rudjak: Eine erstaunliche Verwechslung. In: Marx-Engels-Forschungsberichte 6. Karl-Marx-Universität Leipzig, Leipzig 1990, S. 159–164.
  • Heinz Monz: Zwei Briefe aus Niederbronn (Elsaß). In: Kurtrierisches Jahrbuch. 30.Jg. Trier 1990, S. 237–252.
  • Galina Golovina, Martin Hundt: Jenny Marx als "Geschäftsführer". Eine neue Quelle zu Marx' Mitarbeit an der New-York Tribune. In: MEGA Studien. 1996/2, Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-320-01943-0, S. 109–112.
  • Angelika Limmroth: Jenny von Westphalen—Die Frau von Karl Marx. 3. veränd. u. überarb. Aufl. Großbodungen 2006, ISBN 3-00-013060-8. (Bodunger Beiträge, H. 6)
  • Jörn Schütrumpf (Hrsg.): Jenny Marx oder: Die Suche nach dem aufrechten Gang. Karl Dietz Verlag Berlin, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-320-02147-4.
  • Angelika Limmroth: Jenny Marx. Die Biografie. Karl Dietz Verlag, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-320-02296-9
  • Rolf Hecker, Angelika Limmroth (Hrsg.): Jenny Marx. Die Briefe. Karl Dietz Verlag, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-320-02297-6 329 letters are printed here, most of them published for the first time.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Burke's landed gentry of Great Britain, page 617
  2. ^ Jürgen Reetz: Four Letters of Jenny Marx from the years 1856 - 1860th Trier 1970 (Schriften aus dem Karl-Marx-Haus Heft 3) Trier 1970 (Writings from the Karl Marx House No. 3)
  3. ^ Francis Wheen, Karl Marx: A Life, (Fourth Estate, 1999), ISBN 1-85702-637-3, page 17
  4. ^ Francis Wheen, Karl Marx: A Life (Fourth Estate, 1999), ISBN 1-85702-637-3
  5. ^ Leszek Kołakowski (1978). Main Currents of Marxism, Vol I: The Founders, Oxford: Clarendon Press, p. 193-194
  6. ^ Marx and Engels through the eyes of their contemporaries. Progress Publishers, Moskow 1972, p. 131–142

External links[edit]