History and Theory 11 (3):335-337 (1972)

Abstract
Marx begins his Eighteenth Brumaire by attributing to Hegel the remark that "all facts and personages of great importance in world history occur, as it were, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce." Marx has stung us here with another of his famous inversions. For Hegel, in the passage in question, describes repetition in world history as a mark of ratification, sanctifying what has happened. He has not "forgotten" to add, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce; for such an addition would utterly contradict what he is saying. Actually, Marx borrowed the whole tragedy-farce notion from comments by Engels in a letter dated December 3, 1851. Marx has, however, held fast to Hegel's formulations about man being free only when he comprehends his history
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DOI 10.2307/2504684
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