Selections from Cultural Writings
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.