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I read The Phenomenology of Spirit like 10 years ago, but I felt like it was very vague and abstract. Hegel seemed to have been describing the development of human thought with respect to the absolute truth, but I didn't know if it was a historical development, the natural human development of the mind from an individual perspective or whatnot, and the whole process seemed to be very vague and too abstract to me.

What would you recommend someone to do to fully understand it? I remember there was a dictionary for the book, which was as thick as the book itself and I thought it was ridiculous. How did people like Marx came to understand the book? Did they just understand it by reading it? I feel it's impossible to understand the book fully by merely reading it.

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    Marx had the advantage of attending lectures, and mingling with, Hegel's students in person (Gans, Feuerbach, Bauer), and many attest that Hegel himself was a spellbinding lecturer (indeed, it explains how he managed to inspire so many people given the way his works are written). Don't worry, nobody knows precisely what Hegel has in mind there, hence anyone can read in what suits them best (as did Marx), which has its own benefits. If you want an aid you can peruse a commentary, e.g. Findlay's, Siep's or Stern's, free electronic versions of each come up upon googling. – Conifold Feb 20 '19 at 0:59
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    "Mill opined that a sustained dose of Hegelian prose might addle the brain irreversibly..." ndpr.nd.edu/news/the-phenomenology-of-spirit – Bread Feb 20 '19 at 1:24
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    @conifold many attest that Hegel himself was a spellbinding lecturer <-- this seems to be the opposite of what the editors of the lecture series (e.g. Hodgson's 2006 and 2007 introductions to Hegel's Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion). Do you have citation for Hegel being a good lecturer? – virmaior Feb 20 '19 at 1:31
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    @repomonster my sense as a Hegel scholar is that Marx does not have a good grasp of Hegel. There's (and I speak glibly) an inverse fame rule: the more famous the commentator is independently the more likely the reading is not good or faithful. – virmaior Feb 20 '19 at 1:33
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    Robert C. Solomon authored In the Spirit of Hegel, which is a study of Phenomenology of Spirit. – Bread Feb 20 '19 at 1:49

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