Giuseppe Vacca

Italian interpretations of Gramsci before and after the critical edition of the Prison notebooks (Quaderni del Carcere)

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The thematic version of the Prison Notebooks, published between 1948 and 1951 under the editorship of Palmiro Togliatti, still today influences the image of Gramsci in various cultural areas of the world. There is no doubt that this edition and Togliatti's interpretation constituted an adaptation of Gramsci's work that was compatible with Stalinism. at the same time, he knew how to use it for the project of a "new party" and the "Italian road to socialism". Gramsci's reflections were inscribed into the horizon of Italian history, their essential nucleus being defined as the "Southern question" and the preoccupation regarding the "destiny" of the intellectual strata "in Italian society". With the publication of Valentino Gerratana's critical edition in the mid-1970s, scholars involved in renewing the interpretation of Gramsci's thought shared the persuasion that the dynamic nucleus of the Notebooks was instead found in the notes devoted to Americanism, that the main analytical category introduced by Gramsci into the methodology of historical research was the concept of "passive revolution", and that from this stemmed the development of an original thought, centred around the theory of hegemony.


  • Antonio Gramsci
  • Prison Notebooks
  • Southern question
  • passive revolution
  • Palmiro Togliatti


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