Francesca Antonini

Gramsci, historical materialism and the Russian anthology of 1924

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Antonio Gramsci; Karl Marx; Historical Materialism; Russian Anthology; The German Ideology.

This essay focuses on Gramsci's relationship with an anthology of texts by Marx and Engels that was available to him while he was in Moscow. The volume, published by V.V. Adoratskij and A.D. Udal'cov in 1924, was linked to the work of publishing and interpreting Marx's and Engels's oeuvre that led to the "Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe". Some crucial moments in Gramsci's political and intellectual activity are examined on the basis of a close comparison between the Gramscian texts and the extracts from the Russian anthology. First, the cultural programme of the Italian Communist Party developed by Gramsci during his stay in Vienna is discussed. Then, the "Prison Notebooks" are dealt with, dwelling in particular on two issues: Gramsci's use of a summary of the first chapter of the "German Ideology" contained in the Russian volume, and his conception of «ideology»; and the connection between Engels's anti-determinism (as it unfolds in some letters mentioned in the anthology) and Gramsci's conception of historical materialism.

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