By Francisco Fernández Buey, Nicholas Gray
Reading Gramsci is of substantial biographical and philosophical curiosity for students and partisans of communism alike.
English translation of Leyendo a Gramsci, released via El Viejo Topo in 2001
Part of the historic Materialism (HM) booklet Series.
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Extra resources for Reading Gramsci
20 CHAPTER 1 Love and Philology One of the things that probably most complicated Antonio Gramsci’s relationship with Giulia Schucht was the way in which he read her letters. These were, for the main part, short, and they were written in an Italian which was clear and simple, such that the principal obstacle to communication does not seem to have been the fact that the two of them spoke different languages, although it is true that cultural diversity is also an important factor beyond ideological and political identities.
In June 1928, he writes that he has been diagnosed with chronic uraemia. As a consequence of this he also suffers from expulsive periodontitis. At the same time, he also experiences periods of nervous exhaustion. 66 In December of the same year, when he was already in Turi, he suffered an attack of uric acid which left him considerably incapacitated for three months. 67 From midAugust 1932, he had serious intestinal problems that were not merely attributable to his poor diet; he felt that he was beginning to lose his strength; he again suffered from insomnia; and he thought that his capacity for resistance was being broken, and that he was losing control of his impulses and the basic 65 Letter to his mother, 24 August 1931, in Gramsci 2011a, vol.
Between exile in Ustica and his prison cell in San Vittore, Milan, Gramsci begins to construct for himself an ethics of resistance based on the lucid and distanced observation of the new world that he is discovering and on the emphasis of what he believes are the main features of his own personality. He does not wish to be dominated by his affliction, nor does he want to be consoled. 53 During the time that he was in good physical health, Gramsci was more concerned to assuage the fears of those close to him in the face of an uncertain but sombre future, than to request help or to plead for clemency.