Selections From Cultural Writings / Edition 1

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Though he died as Benito Mussolini's prisoner, leaving only newspaper articles and fragmentary notes, Antonio Gramsci is now seen as the most significant Marxist thinker since Lenin. This volume is the first English translation of his writings on culture, organically and coherently edited from his journalism and his Prison Notebooks.

Gramsci writes about the popular and the great artists from Jules Verne to Dante, but not as so many timeless monuments. He sees artworks in the context of their reception and their absorption in particular cultures and histories. He is sensitive to the politics of culture as well as to the demands of philological scholarship, as his superb work on Dante in this volume shows. We have in this book Gramsci's changing views on particular literary movements and authors, as well as his ideas on the nature of proletarian and popular cultural criticism. Throughout he is concerned with cultural analysis and strategy rather than literary criticism by itself. The headnotes and footnotes prepared by Forgacs and Nowell-Smith address themselves both to the circumstances surrounding the composition of each segment and to the central problems of contemporary Gramsci scholarship. Antonio Gramsci is the twentieth-century writer who has most brilliantly and suggestively explored the ties that bind culture and politics. The publication of this collection is an event of major significance for theorists of all sorts.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674799868
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/1991
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 468
  • Product dimensions: 0.94 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Antonio Gramsci (January 22, 1891 – April 27, 1937) was a founding member of the Italian Communist Party, and spent most of his adult life imprisoned by Mussolini for his opposition to the Fascist regime. After his death and the subsequent publication of his Prison Notebooks he came to be known as one of the 20th century's foremost cultural critics, and is widely recognized as an important theorist of class, culture, and the state.

Geoffrey Nowell-Smith is Honorary Professorial Fellow at Queen Mary University of London. He was co-translator and co-editor with Quintin Hoare of Antonio Gramscis's Selections from Prison Notebooks (L&W and International Publishers, NY, 1971). He is Editor of The Oxford History of World Cinema (Oxford and New York: OUP, 1996) and his most recent book is Making Waves: New Cinemas of the 1960s (NY and London: Continuum, 2008). His history of the British Film Institute (with Christophe Dupin) will appear from Manchester University Press in fall 2011.

David Forgacs is Professor of Italian at University College London and author of Rome Open City in the BFI Film Classics series.

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Table of Contents

Note on the Text


Abbreviations of Works Cited

General Introduction



Politics and Culture

1. For a Cultural Association.

2. Philanthropy, Good Will and Organization.

3. A Single Language and Esperanto.

4. Culture and Class Struggle.

5. Serial Novels.

6. *Communism and Art.

7. The Problem of the School.

8. *Questions of Culture.

9. Party Art.


10. The Futurists.

11. Marineni the Revolutionary?

12. *A Letter to Trotsky on Futurism.

Theatre Criticism

13. Theatre and Cinema.

14. The Theatre Industry (i).

15. The Theatre Industry (ii).

16. The Chiarella Brothers Again.

17. The Theatre Industry (iii).

18. Continuation of Life.

19. Contrasts.

20. Emma Gramatica.

21. Morality and Standards.

22. Non amarmi così! by Fraccaroli.

23. Anfisa by Andreyev.

24. Pensaci, Giacomino! by Pirandello.

25. Liolà by Pirandello.

26. Così è (se vi pare) by Pirandello.

27. Il piacere dell'onestà by Pirandello.

28. Il giuoco delleparti by Pirandello.

29. La ragione degli altri by Pirandello.



1. Back to De Sanctis.

2. Art and the Struggle for a New Civilization.

3. Art and Culture.

4. Adeichi Baratono.
5. Literary Criticism. Paul Nizan.

6. Constituting an Epoch.

7. Croce and Literary Criticism.

8. Ethico-political History.

9. *Educative Art.

10. Criteria of Literary Criticism.

11. For a New Literature (Art) through a New Culture.

12. *Individualism and Art.

13. Criteria of Method.

14. *The Writer's Attitude.

15. Non-National-Popular Characteristics of Italian Literature. *'Contentism' and 'Calligraphism'.

16. Languages of the Arts.

17. *Neology.

18. Sincerity (or Spontaneity) and Discipline.

19. Cultural Themes. 'Rationalism' (i).

20. Popular Literature. "Functional' Literature.

21. Popular Literature. *Rationalism (iii).

22. Popular Literature. *Functional Literature.

23. The New Architecture.

24. Justification of Autobiography (i).

25. Justification of Autobiography (ii).

26. Some Criteria of 'Literary'Judgement.

27. Methodological Criteria.



1. Father Bresciani's Progeny: Pirandello.

2. Italian Literature: Pirandello.

3. Theatre of Pirandello *(i).

4. Theatre of Pirandeilo *(ii).

5. An Early Note by Pirandello.



1. "Structure' and 'Poetry'.

2. Criticism of the 'Unexpressed'?

• Pliny and Lessing.

4. *Guido Cavalcanti's Death.

5. Guido's Disdain.

6. Vincenzo Morello.

7. The 'Renunciations of Description' in the Divine Comedy.

8. *The Blind Tiresias.

9. *'Rastignac'.



1. The Question of the Language and the Italian Intellectual Classes.

2. Bellonci and Crémieux.

3. Giulio Bertoni and Linguistics.

4. Linguistic Problems: Giulio Bertoni.

5. Linguistics:
• Pagliaro.

6. Linguistics: Sicardi.

7. Croce's Essay 'This Round Table is Square'.

8. How Many Forms of Grammar Can There Be?

9. Sources of Diffusion of Linguistic Innovations in the Tradition and of a National Linguistic Conformism in the Broad National Masses.

10. Different Kinds of Normative Grammar.

11. Historical and Normative Grammars.

12. Grammar and Technique.

13. The So-called 'Question of the Language'.

14. Observations on Folklore: Giovanni Crocioni.

15. Observations on Folklore: 'Natural Law' and Folklore.

16. Folklore: 'Contemporary Pre-history'.

17. Folklore:
• Popular Songs.



1. Connection of Problems.

2. Popular Literature: Content and Form.

3. Concept of 'National-Popular'.

4. Study of the Moral and Intellectual Tendencies and Interests Prevalent in Literary Circles.

5. The Study of the Historical Formation of the Italian Intellectuals.

6. Humanism and Renaissance (i).

7. Humanism and Renaissance (ii).

8. Humanism and Renaissance (iii).

9. The Renaissance.

10. The Sixteenth Century.

11. Non-National-Popular Character of Italian Literature.

12. Philosophical Novels, Utopias, etc.

13. Indirect Sources: 'Utopias' and So-called 'Philosophical Novels'.

14. Moments of Intensely Collective and Unitary Life in the National Development of the Italian People.

15. Popular Aspects of the Risorgimento: Volunteers and Popular Intervention.

16. Interpretations of the Risorgimento (i).

17. Interpretations of the Risorgimento (ii).

18. Gioberti andJacobinism.

19. Formation and Spread of the New Bourgeoisie in Italy.

20. Ugo Foscolo and Italian Literary Rhetoric.

21. Alfredo Oriani.

22. Italian National Culture.

23. French and Italian Historical Culture.

24. Balzac.

25. Julien Benda.

26. Emmanuel Ben.

27. The Public and Italian Literature.

28. On Italian Literature: *G.A. Borgese.

29. The Italians and the Novel.

30. Luigi Capuana.

31. Tendencies in Italian Culture: Giovanni Cena.

32. Gino Saviotti.

33. Popular Literature: Giuseppe Ungaretti.

34. *'The 'People' and the 'Public'.

35. Intellectuals and Literature.

36. Consent of the Nation or of the 'Elect'.

37. *The Bureaucrats.

38. *Enrico Thovez.

39. Antonio Fradeletto.

40. Americanism: Babbitt.

41. Americanism: Babbitt Again.

42. Notes on American Culture.

43. The English and Religion.

44. Intellectuals: Notes on English Culture (i).

45. Intellectuals: Notes on English Culture (ii).



1. The 'Popularity' of Tolstoy and Manzoni.

2. Attitude to the People in The Betrothed.

3. 'The Humble'.

4. Manzoni and 'The Humble'.

5. Popular Literature: Manzoni.

6. *Irony.



1. Father Bresciani's Progeny.

2. Two Generations.

3. Ugo Ojetti and the Jesuits.

4. Panzini.

5. Giovanni Papini.

6. Giuseppe Prezzolini.

7. Curzio Malaparte.

8. Luca Beltrami (Polifilo).

9. Leonida Répaci.

10. Giovanni Ansaldo.

11. War Literature.

12. The Academy of Ten.

13. La Fiera Letteraria.

14. Bontempelli's Novecentismo.

15. 'Novecentismo' and 'Super-country'.

16. Super-city and Super-country.

17. Jahier, Raimondi and Proudhon.

18. *Enrico Corradini.

19. Ardengo Soffici.

20. Cardarelli and La Ronda.

21. A Sphinx Without Riddles.

22. Portrait of the Italian Peasant.

23. 'Catholic Art'.

24. 'Technically' Catholic Writers.

25. Bruno Cicognani.

26. Alessandro Luzio.

27. Inconclusive Debates.



1. Influence of French Romantic Serials.

2. *Interest'

3. Carlo Linati on 'Interest'.

4. Serial Novels.

5. *The Heroes of Popular Literature.

6. Guerin Meschino.

7. Raffaello Giovagnoli's Spartaco.

8. *Aldo Sorani on Popular Literature.

9. Popular Origin of the 'Superman'.

10. Various Types of Popular Novel.

11. Popularity of Italian Literature.

12. *Populist Tendencies.

13. The Book Fair.

14. Popular Theatre and Novel.

15. Statistics.

16. Verne and the Scientific-geographical Novel.

17. The Detective Novel (i).

18. The Detective Novel (ii).

19. Cultural Derivatives of the Serial Novel.

20. *André Moufflet on the Serial Novel.

21. Novelized Biographies.

22. *The Operatic Conception of Life.

23. Popular Literature: Opera.

24. Popular Literature: Operatic Taste.

25. Oratory, Conversation, Culture.



1. Cultural Themes: Ideological Material.

2. Italian Intellectuals.

3. Types of Periodical: Dilettantism and Discipline.

4. Types of Periodical: The Final Evolutionary Being.

5. Types of Periodical: *Critical Information.

6. Journalism: Almanacs.

7. Journalism: Readers.

8. Journalism: Intellectual Movements and Centres.

9. Journalism: Types of Periodical: *External Appearance.

10. Journalism: Types of Periodical: *Political Education.

11. *IntegralJournalism.

12. *Types of Newspaper.

13. Types of Periodical.

14. *Types of Periodical: Moralizing Reviews.

15. Yearbooks and Almanacs.

16. Cattaneo.

17. Original Essays and Translations.

18. Science Columns.

19. Schools ofJournalism.



*Asterisk indicates that the title is not Gramsci's, but supplied by the editors.

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