Marx Without Myth: a Chronological Study of His Life and Work
Maximilien Rubel and Margaret Manale
Harper and Row, 1975
Maximilien Rubel (1905-1996) made great contributions to Marx scholarship for several decades by producing carefully edited French-language scholarly editions of Marx’s work to serve as independent counterparts to those produced by the official curators of Marx’s legacy in East Berlin and Moscow. While Rubel’s Pléiade editions have not been translated into English, a sizeable portion of the introductory material he contributed is available to English-speaking readers.
One such text is Marx Without Myth, a biographical study written with Margaret Manale and based on the introduction to the first volume of Rubel’s edition of Marx’s works.  Rubel and Manale give the reader a detailed historical context to Marx’s writings, apart from which any understanding of Marx’s work is impossible. While the content of Marx’s critiques of political economy may not be treated as extensively as their importance warrants in this particular historiographic method, the value (no pun intended) of the historical detail is considerable.
What is colloquially referred to as Marxism contains at least four components: 1) the humanist philosophic foundation of the Hegelian dialectic, 2) the critique of political economy, 3) the critique of politics, and 4) the historical-ethnological studies of the late Marx. Rubel and Manale’s text is particularly strong on points three and four.  They strongly convey the anti-authoritarian content of Marx’s work in political movements, especially the International Working Men’s Association, culminating in the Paris Commune, the climax of the social struggles in of the nineteenth century in Europe. Marx is criminally ignored as both a practitioner and theorist of organization and the spirit he brought to his participation in working class movements should be studied closely by those interested in rescuing the revolutionary project for the twenty-first century.
Marx’s intense interest in the heritage and prospects of the remnants of archaic communal property in the Europe of his day, particularly Russia, is communicated strongly by Rubel and Manale’s close attention to Marx’s reading extensive lists. Names important here are Lewis Henry Morgan, Maxime Kovalevsky, Henry Sumner Maine, Nikolai Chernyshevsky, and Nikolai Danielson, among others. The unfinished product of Marx’s study along these lines is still available to us in English translation, although edited and published by Lawrence Krader as a transcription (The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx) in 1972.
Marx Without Myth is not without typographical errors (example: an interesting 1867 letter by Marx’s wife Jenny describing the content of Capital, Volume I mistakenly contains the word “slaves” in place of “salves”). Ironically, given the title of Rubel and Manale’s book, the authors repeat the false assertion that Marx wanted to dedicate Capital, Volume II to Charles Darwin (see p. 318). We know now, thanks to Margaret A. Fay, that the letter from Darwin at the source of this myth was addressed to Edward Aveling, who had asked the naturalist for permission to dedicate a book called The Student’s Darwin to him. 
While almost thirty years old, Marx Without Myth has not been superseded and still has benefits for readers today.
 See Kevin Anderson’s “Maximilien Rubel, 1905-1996, Libertarian Marx Editor.” Capital and Class, Vol. 62, 1997.
 For a critique of Rubel’s ambivalence to Hegel and the dialectic, see “Hobsbawn and Rubel on the Marx Centenary, But Where is Marx? by Raya Dunayevskaya, News & Letters, Aug-Sep 1982. Although Dunayevskaya is sharply critical of Rubel here, she did have respect for his editorial project.
 See “Did Marx Offer to Dedicate Capital to Darwin? A Reassessment of the Evidence.” Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol 39, Issue 1, 1978.