Letters of Frederick Engels

To Arnold Ruge
In Dresden

Source: MECW Volume 2, p. 545
Written: 26 July 1842
First published: in Die Internationale, jg. 2, Heft 26, Berlin, 1920

Dear Sir,

This time I am writing to inform you that I shall not be sending you anything.

I have decided to abandon all literary work for a while in order to devote more time to studying. The reasons for this are fairly plain. I am young and self-taught in philosophy. I have learnt enough to form my own viewpoint and, when necessary, to defend it, but not enough to be able to work for it with success and in the proper way. All the greater demands will be made on me because I am a “travelling agent” in philosophy and have not earned the right to philosophise by getting a doctor’s degree. I hope to be able to satisfy these demands once I start writing again – and under my own name. In addition I must not try to do too many things now, as I shall soon be again more fully occupied with business matters. Regarded subjectively, my literary activities have so far been mere experiments from the outcome of which I was to be able to learn whether my natural capacities were such as to enable me to work fruitfully and effectively for progress and to participate actively in the movement of the century. I can be satisfied with the results and now regard it as my duty to acquire by study, which I now continue with redoubled zest, also more and more of that which one is not born with.

When I return home to the Rhineland in October [245]. I hope to be able to meet you in Dresden and to discuss this with you further. In the meantime my good wishes and think of me now and again.

F. Engels

Berlin, 26.7.42

Have you read Jung’s reply [246]? I think it is the best thing he has written so far. In the meantime, the other Jung [Georg], of the Rheinische Zeitung in Cologne, has arrived here and will look you up on his return journey in a few weeks’ time.