Documentary Editing, Association for


Date of this Version


Document Type



Documentary Editing, Volume 24, Number 1, March 2002.

ISSN 2476-1796 (electronic); ISSN 2167-1451 (print)


2002 © the Association for Documentary Editing. Used by permission.


The present-day MEGA, which began in the early 1970's, was a second attempt at a complete edition. The first one, in the Soviet Union in the 1920's and 1930's, did not get very far primarily because many collaborators fell victim to repression by Stalin. When it was again begun, the MEGA was intended as an exclusive production of the two IMLs, although two-thirds of the manuscripts of Marx and Engels were at the IISG in Amsterdam In fact, if both the host governments were at first somewhat hesitant, this was not only because of the enormous costs involved but also because constant contact was necessary with foreign scholars and institutions. In brief, as Rolf Dlubek, one of the German founding fathers of the MEGA, put it later, the edition had to balance continually the ideological legitmation of existing socialist societies with a serious application of editorial studies. And yet, scholars outside the two countries involved always considered it a highly serious editorial enterprise. When a "trial" volume came out in 1972, comments were invited from over one hundred international specialists, many of which were incorporated.