THE HEIRS OF GRAMSCI
No Italian thinker enjoys a greater fame today than Gramsci. Alike, academic citations and internet references place him above Machiavelli. The bibliography of articles and books about him now runs to some 20,000 items. Amid this avalanche, is any compass possible? The Prison Notebooks first became available, politically expurgated, in Italy in the later 1940s. The first extensive translation from them into any language came in the early 1970s, Selections in English produced by Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith giving them a global readership, and still probably the most widely consulted single version of them. Some four decades later, there is already an extensive secondary literature on the history of their world-wide reception, covering a vast span of usages. The scale of this appropriation, in an epoch so unlike that in which Gramsci lived and thought, has owed much to two features of his legacy that set it apart from that of any other revolutionary of his time.
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The Missing Text
The debates of the English New Left in the summer of 1961 as backdrop to the memorable essay by Raymond Williams, printed below—and possible explanation for its first appearance in an obscure, formerly CIA-funded literary journal. Perry Anderson asks how knowledge of it would revise Edward Thompson’s critical assessment of The Long Revolution in NLR.
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Notes on a conversation in the summer of 1977, when the philosopher made an impromptu visit to the NLR office. Wide-ranging discussion on Althusser’s relations with the PCF, the condition of Marxism, the Chinese and Russian revolutions compared; Trotsky, Sraffa and the problems with Gramsci’s concept of hegemony.
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The House of Zion
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Retrospective on the liberated life and work of Alexander Cockburn, whose last book, A Colossal Wreck, completes a dazzling triptych. Shaping influences of family, place and political epoch on a singularly radical temperament, and the keen-edged prose in which it found expression.
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