Class in Marx's Conception of History, Ancient and Modern


  • Geoffrey de Ste. Croix



Marxism, Political Economy


It is both an honor and a pleasure for me to be speaking here today. It is an honor to have been asked to give the annual lecture in memory of Isaac Deutscher, a man who always resolutely pursued his own line of thought with the greatest courage, and throughout his life tried to tell the truth as he saw it, undismayed by attacks from whatever direction. (I greatly regret that I never had the good fortune to meet him.) And it is a pleasure to be allowed to give this lecture at the London School of Economics, where (you may be surprised to hear) I actually had my first academic post, and taught for three years in the early 1950s—though perhaps "taught" is something of a euphemism, because my field of interest as an assistant lecturer in Ancient Economic History was rather far removed from anything prescribed by the syllabus; and indeed I was sometimes made aware by some of my colleagues in the Economic History Department (very politely, of course) that I was really a bit of a nuisance, occupying a post which, but for my presence, might have been filled by some genuinely useful person, who could have taken on some of the burden of teaching the syllabus, as I, alas, could not.