Prison Notebooks

Antonio Gramsci. Edited and translated by Joseph A. Buttigieg

Columbia University Press

Prison Notebooks

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Pub Date: October 1996

ISBN: 9780231060837

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Prison Notebooks

Antonio Gramsci. Edited and translated by Joseph A. Buttigieg

Columbia University Press

Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) is widely celebrated as the most original political thinker in Western Marxism and an all-around outstanding intellectual figure. Arrested and imprisoned by the Italian Fascist regime in 1926, Gramsci died before fully regaining his freedom. Nevertheless, in his prison notebooks, he recorded thousands of brilliant reflections on an extraordinary range of subjects, establishing an enduring intellectual legacy.

Columbia University Press's multivolume Prison Notebooks is the only complete critical edition of Antonio Gramsci's seminal writings in English. The notebooks' integral text gives readers direct access not only to Gramsci's influential ideas but also to the intellectual workshop where those ideas were forged. Extensive notes guide readers through Gramsci's extraordinary series of reflections on an encyclopedic range of topics. Volume 2 contains Gramsci's notebooks 3, 4, and 5, written between 1930 and 1932. Their central themes are popular culture, Italian history, Americanism, and the Catholic Church as a religious institution and formidable politico-ideological force. Gramsci also touches on the Renaissance and Reformation, language and linguistics, military and diplomatic history, and Japanese and Chinese culture. Notebook 4 features an innovative reading of canto 10 from Dante's Inferno and a philosophical analysis of materialism and idealism. It also includes the first draft of Gramsci's famous observations on the history and role of intellectuals in society.

Altogether a tremendous achievement.... This volume provides us with an immediate sense of the scale and diversity of Gramsci's project.

Richard Bellamy, Times Literary Supplement

Antonio Gramsci's Prison Notebooks have long been among the most remarkable documents of Western political thought. [Columbia edition] is a poignant record of his thoughts from a Fascist prison cell, which adds a human touch to a key political figure.

Terry Eagleton

This is the first time ever that Gramsci's extraordinary "Prison Notebooks" are available in English as he wrote them in Italian, in their fragmentary brilliance and their disconcertingly restless, unorthodox probity. Joseph Buttigieg's work is a monument of scholarship and of supple, deepy sensitive translation. When his work is completed in subsequent volumes, a remarkable monument of human courage and intellectual resourcefulness will stand forth as never before.

Edward W. Said

An impressive and welcome commencement to the translation of one of the great intellectual legacies of the twentieth century...in Gramsci, Marxism acquires the founder of a proletarian intellectual tradition that is likely to continue as long as society has use for democracy.

William Hartley, Italian Quarterly

Until Joseph A. Buttigieg's meticulous translation and critical attention to Antonio Gramsci's Prison Notebooks, this invaluable text, a testimony to the most emancipatory thinking of our time, was available to English readers only in an artificially contrived form. Now Buttigieg's monumental and magesterial work is available in paperback. Scholars, teachers, students, activists, general readers—rejoice!

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Columbia University

Prison Notebooks is one of the fundamental texts of modern thought. Politics, cultural studies, philosophy, history, the dialectic—everything is here. Buttigieg's translation is a superb achievement.

Fredric Jameson
Preface
Prison Notebooks
Notebooks 3 (1930)
Notebooks 4 (1930-1932)
Notebooks 5 (1930-1932)
Notes
Notebook 3: Description of the Manuscript
Notes to the Text
Notebook 4: Description of the Manuscript
Notes to the Text
Notebook 5: Description of the Manuscript
Notes to the Text
Sequence of Notes by Title or Opening Phrase
Name Index

About the Author

Frank Rosengarten is professor emeritus of Italian and comparative literature at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is the author of The Italian Anti-Fascist Press; The Writings of the Young Marcel Proust (1885-1900): An Ideological Critique; and Urbane Revolutionary: C.L.R. James and the Struggle for a New Society.

Raymond Rosenthal (1915–1995) was a world-renowned translator of Italian literature.