Review Of Gramsci 's ' Political Thought ' The Prison Notebooks '

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AJ FAAS 3-4-08 A REVIEW OF GRAMSCI’S POLITICAL THOUGHT IN THE PRISON NOTEBOOKS [DRAFT – DO NOT CITE WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR] Antonio Gramsci was an Italian communist scholar, journalist, and activist who served as a deputy member of the Italian Parliament, representing the Italian Communist Party (PCI), which he helped to establish in 1923. In the wake of the triumph of Mussolini and the Italian fascists in 1926, Gramsci was sentenced to 20 years in prison in order to prevent his thought from spreading (Crehan 2003:17). From 1926 to 1937, when he was released from prison only to die one week later, Gramsci composed thirty-two notebooks (over 2,350 printed pages) which has come to be regarded as his greatest work and an unfinished classic of Marxist thought (Simon 1991; Crehan 2002). The fact that he composed these great works while he was in prison and during a time of political turmoil that provoked him has particularly confounding effects on the reader. First, these notebooks were hand written in prison and he frequently revisits or elaborates on earlier notes throughout the journals. They are therefore not organized under coherent headings to facilitate a systematic interpretation of his thoughts. Some editors organize the notes under their own themes, and Gramsci himself at times inserts instructions that one passage should be tied to another, but some imposed order is always inevitable. Second, Gramsci, though in prison, was very much informed, and

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