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MEGA volumes in a library.

Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA) is the largest collection of the writing of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in any language. It is an ongoing project intended to produce a critical edition of the works of Marx and Engels that reproduces the extant writings of both authors in books with high-quality library binding.

Being a scholarly and academic, historical-critical (historisch-kritische) edition, most MEGA volumes consist of separate text and appendix books, the latter giving additional information on the edited text.[1] All material in MEGA is edited in the original language, resulting in mostly German, but also a considerable quantity of English as well as French language texts.

Initially issued by the Institutes of Marxism-Leninism of the SED in Berlin and the CPSU in Moscow and published by Dietz Verlag (Berlin) as a series launched in 1975, MEGA contains all works published by Marx and Engels in their lifetimes and numerous previously unpublished manuscripts and letters.[1]

After the fall of the Berlin Wall publishership of MEGA was transferred to the Internationale Marx-Engels-Stiftung (IMES) in Amsterdam[2]. The volumes are printed and bound by Walter de Gruyter in Berlin.[3] The project is presently being overseen by Gerald Hubmann.[4]

65 volumes of MEGA have been published.[5] All volumes containing writings related to Das Kapital have been published. The entire project is expected to be 114 volumes total.[5]

Publication history[edit]


The MEGA of today was not the first attempt to publish a complete collection of the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in their original language.

Already in the 1920s and 1930s a first MEGA or MEGA1 was published by the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow under the direction of David Riazanov, a Marxist scholar and revolutionary. MEGA1 was originally intended to comprise 42 volumes, of which 12 volumes were published between 1927 and 1935.[6]

After Riazanov was removed as director of the Marx-Engels Institute in February 1931 (and killed in a perfunctory trial in 1938) and Hitler rose to power in Germany in 1933, MEGA1 was silently discontinued.[6]

Only after Stalin's death a second attempt was undertaken to publish a complete edition of the works of Marx and Engels in the 1960s. The cooperation between German and Soviet editors, new editorial guidelines and innovative concepts led to the publication of a first sample volume in 1972, followed by the first volume of the new, second MEGA (or MEGA2) in 1975.[6]


MEGA contains material written by Marx between 1835 and his death in 1883, and by Engels between 1838 and his death in 1895. The project is divided into four general sections:

  • I. Abteilung (Werke, Artikel, Entwürfe): All philosophical, economic, historical and political works, publications, articles and speeches of Marx and Engels. Well-known works of Marx and Engels, including The German Ideology (volume I/5), The Class Struggles in France 1848-1850 (volume I/10), The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (volume I/11), Critique of the Gotha Program (volume I/25) and Anti-Dühring (volume I/27) are part of this section. It will comprise 32 volumes.[7]
  • II. Abteilung (Das Kapital und Vorarbeiten): This section contains Marx's major work, Capital: Critique of Political Economy (with all three volumes), and all the economic works and manuscripts related to it, beginning with the Grundrisse from 1857/58 (volume II/1). This section is so far the only completed one, it was finished with volume II/4.3 in 2012 and comprises 15 volumes in 23 books.[8]
  • III. Abteilung (Briefwechsel): The complete correspondence of Marx and Engels, both the exchange of letters between each other, as well as from Marx and Engels to third persons, whose letters to both authors are also completely printed in the edition. The section will comprise 35 volumes.[9]
  • IV. Abteilung (Exzerpte, Notizen, Marginalien): The previously largely unpublished excerpts, notes and marginalia of Marx and Engels. The section will comprise 32 volumes.[10]


Since 1990 MEGA is published by the Internationale Marx-Engels-Stiftung (IMES) in Amsterdam.

The IMES is an international network of the International Institute of Social History, the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (BBAW), the Karl-Marx-Haus (KMH) of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Trier, the Russian State Archive for Social/Political History (RGA) and the Russian Independent Institute for the Study of Social and National Problems (RNI), the latter two in Moscow.[2] The main task of the IMES is to continue the publication of the Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe.

In 2015 the Gemeinsame Wissenschaftskonferenz (federal science conference) of the German federal states and the German national government decided to continue funding the publication of MEGA, albeit in a newly conceptualized form: All the letters in the third section of MEGA from 1866 - 1895 (from volume III/14 onwards) and large parts of the fourth section will only be published digitally in the future.

All further volumes of the first and important volumes of the fourth section will, however, still be published in printed form.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rojahn, Jürgen (1998): Publishing Marx and Engels after 1989: The fate of the MEGA.
  2. ^ a b International Institute of Social History: Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe.
  3. ^ Walter de Gruyter: Marx, Karl / Engels, Friedrich: Gesamtausgabe (MEGA).
  4. ^ Buck, Tobias (June 15, 2018). "Plan to publish full works of Marx is long time in the making". The Financial Times. Archived from the original on June 15, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²) (German).
  6. ^ a b c Marx. Dialectical Studies: The Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA) Project.
  7. ^ Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften: MEGA, Erste Abteilung (German).
  8. ^ Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften: MEGA, Zweite Abteilung (German).
  9. ^ Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften: MEGA, Dritte Abteilung (German).
  10. ^ Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften: MEGA, Vierte Abteilung (German).
  11. ^ Press release of BBAW after GWK conference, October 30, 2015 (German).

External links[edit]