‘Intelligent Materialism: Essays on Hegel and Dialectics’ by Evald Ilyenkov

Published by Haymarket Books in 2020.


Evald Ilyenkov is a unique figure among the many Soviet thinkers that have recently been introduced to English-speaking readers. Although a thoroughly academic philosopher (both in the choice of his subject matter and in his institutional locations), Ilyenkov’s ideas are communicated in a manner not often found in academic discourse. The texts presented here are not exhaustive of Ilyenkov’s extensive engagement with Hegel and dialectics, but they are representative of the main themes and interests which pervade his writing on that subject. It is hoped that this collection will continue to draw interest to the Soviet engagement with Hegel and dialectics.

Intelligent Materialism: Essays on Hegel and Dialectics (edited and translated by Evgeni V. Pavlov), adds another ten translated essays that focus largely on the relevance of Hegel’s dialectics to Marxism, often challenging the official interpretation of Marxism in Russia, diamat. Given the inherent difficulty of Hegelian Marxism, Pavlov’s translation is both elegant and accessible, while also conveying the vitality, sardonic wit and, where warranted, forceful polemical style of Ilyenkov’s writings. […] This book has further solidified Ilyenkov’s significance within the canons of both Hegel and Marx scholarship, but more importantly has direct relevance in clarifying ongoing debates in Marxist circles regarding what is meant by ‘materialism’.”

– Dom Taylor, in: Marx & Philosophy Review of Books

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