In a little while, I shall go to UNC to give the second of two classes on the mathematical reconstruction of the classical Political Economy tradition to which Marx was reacting in Capital. Then, after returning from a weekend in San Francisco, where I will play very, very elementary violin-viola duets with my grandson, Samuel, who has just starting "taking violin," I will, on February 11th, five weeks after beginning the course, finally turn the cover of Capital to the first page and read the famous opening words: "The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails presents itself as 'an immense accumulation of commodities,' its unit being a single commodity. Our analysis must therefore begin with the analysis of a commodity." [Marx is quoting himself!]
Thus will I inaugurate five hours of intense dissection of Chapter One, grounded in, among other things, a literary analysis of ironic discourse and its relationship to the distinction between appearance and reality. The students, having been guided for several weeks by my book, Understanding Marx, will now read Moneybags Must Be So Lucky as they tackle the baffling and highly inflected language of the first several hundred pages of Capital.
Only the Critique of Pure Reason has demanded as much from me as Capital does. It is now fifty-five years since I first taught the Critique and I do not think I have poured so much of myself into a course since then. I can only hope that the students are finding the course as rewarding to take as I am finding it to teach.