“The place of the Grundrisse in Karl Marx’s oeuvre and its fortunes are in many respects peculiar. First, they are the only example of a major set of Marx’s mature writings which, for practical purposes, were entirely unknown to Marxists for more than half a century after Marx’s death; and indeed almost completely unavailable until almost a century after the composition of the manuscripts which have been brought together under this name. Whatever the debates about their significance, the writings of 1857-8, clearly part of the intellectual effort that was to produce Capital, represent Marx in his maturity, not least as an economist. This distinguishes the Grundrisse from the other earlier posthumous addition to the Marxian corpus, the 1932 ‘Frühschriften’. The exact place of these writings of the early 1840s in Marx’s theoretical development has been much debated, rightly or wrongly, but there can be no such disagreement about the maturity of the writings of 1857-8. Second, and somewhat surprisingly, the entire publication of the Grundrisse took place under what may safely be regarded as the least favourable conditions for any original development of Marx studies and Marxist thinking, namely in the URSS and the German Democratic Republic, at the height of the era of Stalin. The publication of texts by Marx and Engels remained a matter subject to the imprimatur of political authority even later, as editors engaged in foreign editions of their works have had reason to discover. It is still not clear how the obstacles to publication were overcome, including the purging of the Marx-Engels Institute and the elimination and eventual murder of its founder and director David Riazanov, or how Paul Weller, who was in charge of work on the manuscript from 1925 to 1939, survived the terror of 1936-8 to do so. It may have helped that the authorities did not quite know what to make of this large and difficult text. However, they plainly had their doubts about its precise status, not least because Stalin’s view was that draft manuscripts were of less importance than the three volumes of Capital which reflected Marx’s mature position and views. The Grundrisse were not in fact fully published in a Russian translation until 1968-9, and neither the original (Moscow) German edition of 1939-41nor its 1953 (Berlin) reprint were published as parts of  (incomplete) Soviet edition of Marx’ and Engels’ collected works usually known by the acronym MEGA (only ‘in the format of MEGA’), or as part of the Marx-Engels Werke (MEW). However, unlike the ‘Frühschriften’ of 1844, which disappeared from the official Marx corpus after their original appearance in MEGA (1932), they actually were published even at the peak of the Stalin era. The third peculiarity is the long-lasting uncertainty about the status of the 1857-8 manuscripts which is reflected in the fluctuating name of the papers in the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute of the 1930s until they acquired their title Grundrisse shortly before going into print. Indeed, the exact nature of their relation to the published texts of ‘Das Kapital’ as written by Marx and reconstructed by Friedrich Engels, and the fourth volume of ‘Theories on Surplus Value’, compiled by Kautsky from Marx’s notes of 1861-3, remains a matter of debate. Kautsky, who went through them, does not seem to have known what to do about them. He published two extracts from them in his review ‘Die Neue Zeit’, but no more. These were the brief ‘Bastiat and Carey’ (1904), which made little impact, and the so-called Introduction to the ‘Critique of Political Economy’ (1903), never completed and therefore not published with the book of the same name in 1859, which was to become an early text for those wishing to extend Marxist interpretation beyond prevailing orthodoxies, notably the Austro-Marxists. To date it is probably the most widely discussed part of the Grundrisse, although a few commentators cited in the book question whether they form part of it. The rest of the manuscripts remained unpublished, and indeed unknown to commentators, until Riazanov and his collaborators in Moscow acquired photocopies of them in 1923, put them in order and planned to publish them in the MEGA. It is interesting to speculate what impact they might have had if they had been published in 1931, as originally planned. The date of their actual publication – at the end of 1939 and a week after Hitler’s invasion of the URSS in 1941- meant that they remained almost totally unknown in the West until the 1953 reprint in East Berlin, although rare copies reached the USA and from 1948 on the work was analysed by the great pioneer explicator of the Grundrisse, Roman Rosdolsky (1898-1965), recently arrived in the USA via Auschwitz and various other concentration camps. It is difficult to believe that the bulk of the original German edition, ‘sent to the war front as material for agitation against German soldiers and later to camps as study materials for prisoners of war’ achieved their theoretical or practical objectives” [Eric Hobsbawm, Discovering the ‘Grundrisse’] [(in) Eric Hobsbawm, How to Change the World. Marx and Marxism 1840-2011, 2011]