Helen Macfarlane was a truly remarkable figure: the first translator of The Communist Manifesto
, an early socialist who discussed Hegel, Christianity, and revolution, and a merciless critic of all forms of domination, whether by class, race, or gender. She flickered briefly across British radicalism before disappearing from the historical record. Dave Black has done a marvelous job of excavation, contextualization, and careful analysis, giving us the first-ever book on Macfarlane’s life and work. An additional merit of this volume is the reprinting of Macfarlane’s sometimes very beautiful translation of the Manifesto
– (Kevin B. Anderson, co-editor of Marx on Suicide)
David Black has rendered British social history – and the history of Chartism in particular – as well as the history of socialist ideas in Britain a distinct service by devoting a book-length study to this remarkable woman.
– (Victorian Studies)
In Helen Macfarlane: A Feminist Revolutionary Journalist and Philosopher in Mid-Eighteenth Century England, David Black has done astute historical detective work to rescue from erasure a key figure in socialist history. Under the alias of “Howard Morton,” Helen Macfarlane wrote the first English translation of The Communist Manifesto for the magazine The Red Republican. An active member of mid-nineteenth century British socialist circles, she contributed to the direction of radical dissent and the legacy of Chartism. Rich in detail, Black’s book maps out some of the major debates in which Macfarlane was involved and offers a fascinating archive for anyone interested in the prehistory of British Hegelian thought.
– (Rosemary Hennessey, author of Profit and Pleasure: Sexual Identities in Late Capitalism)