Guo Dali, Alumnus of Da Xia – the predecessor of ECNU – translated first Chinese version of Marx’s Das Kapital


Das Kapital is hailed as the greatest theoretical work of Karl Marx and a scientific masterpiece within the discipline of Marxist theory. The first full Chinese translation of Das Kapital was published in 1938, which has greatly promoted the spread of Marxist theory in China.

Due to Guo Dali’s hard and persistent work, the alumnus of The Great China University—predecessor of ECNU—Marx’s masterpiece played a guiding role in the Chinese revolution, construction, and reform as led by the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Guo Dali published the first full Chinese version of Das Capital when he was only 33 years old. How was it possible for the young Guo Dali to translate Das Kapital into Mandarin Chinese?

In April of this year, ECNU teachers, students majoring in Chinese who enrolled in 2017 went to Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, in order to visit the former residence of Guo Dali. They explored Guo Dali’s deeds in translating Das Capital.

During his study at The Great China University, Guo Dali majored in philosophy while studying English, Japanese, German and many other foreign languages. During his studies he met many progressive people who were also influenced by the revolutionary ideas of the time, especially the philosopher Li Shicen. Guo Dali came into contact with Marxism and tried to translate Das Kapital. The failure of the first domestic revolution caused Guo Dali to become more aware of the significance of Marxist theory to the Chinese revolution, and thus he set out to fully translate and introduce Karl Marx’s important masterpiece Das Kapital to the Chinese people.

Guo Dali faced great hardships and sufferings through the course of his translation of Das Kapital, enduring suppression by the Nationalist Party authorities, homelessness, poverty and disease, and the calamity of the translation burned by artillery fire.

In the end, however, he finally accomplished the translation of Das Kapital. From August to September 1938, the first full Chinese version of Das Kapital translated by Guo Dali and Wang Ya’nan, was published in Shanghai. Das Kapital, the classic masterpiece of Marxism, was finally presented to the Chinese people in its entirety.


Author: Xu Xincheng

Editor: Li Mengjie


East China Normal University