The history of the German editions of Stirner's Der Einzige und sein Eigentum (The Ego and His Own) is by no means a dull subject. It is characterized by the fact that the two main initiators of the so-called Stirner renaissances were surprisingly staunch opponents of Stirner. Paul Lauterbach, the editor of the Reclam editions from 1892 onwards, was an enthusiastic follower of Nietzsche, and Hans G. Helms, who edited the first (heavily abridged) edition of Der Einzige und sein Eigentum after 1945 in 1968, was a doctrinaire Marxist (like Ahlrich Meyer, who edited and annotated the unabridged Der Einzige und sein Eigentum, which has been published by Reclam since 1972). Of particular interest here are: 1) What motives did these men have to passionately advocate for the publication of a work they considered extremely dangerous, and each of which was almost forgotten? 2) How can their activism be sensibly interpreted as evading Stirner?
Stirner's Der Einzige und sein Eigentum, without becoming a bestseller, was not only a bookseller's success, but also -- if one understands "success" in the true sense as a hit or strike -- an intellectual hit, and here now in the full sense of the word, a secret one. Because since its first appearance, it caused intellectual upheavals both among its most important direct recipients (Feuerbach, Ruge, Engels, especially Marx) and among many of its later readers, upheavals that they carefully concealed from the public (and eventually, repressing, also from themselves).
German scholar Bernd A. Laska completed his sesquicentennial "edition history" of Der Einzige in 1994, and the Union of Egoists is pleased to present the first English translation of that work, making a fascinating history of the Unique book more acessible.