Earlier this year, the president and founding member of the International Gramsci Society, Valentino Gerratana, celebrated his eightieth birthday. While extending to him our best wishes, we seize this opportunity to express profound appreciation for his enormous contributions to the preservation and transmission of Gramsci's legacy, and to the rigorous study of Gramsci's thought.
Valentino Gerratana's accomplishments are by no means limited to the field of Gramscian philology and scholarship. His wartime participation in the Resistance movement; the prominent role he played in the PCI; his collaboration in the founding of Editori Riuniti; the numerous contributions he made to political philsosphy (especially, his seminal work on Labriola); the many ways in which he enriched Italian political culture through his journalism, his interventions in some of the major debates of his time, and his other publications (including, among many other things, the edition of Giaime Pintor's writings); his academic work at the University of Salerno--all this is known to many of those closely familiar with the Italian cultural and political scene, even though Gerratana's reticence and reserve have kept him out of the public limelight. It is, however, Valentino Gerratana's work on Gramsci that has had the widest and most lasting impact, not only on Italian culture but wherever the author of the Prison Notebooks is read and studied. The enormous effort that produced the critical edition of the Quaderni del carcere continues to bear fruit. The value of that edition is manifested in the new insights into various aspects of Gramsci's thought that it continues to generate--insights that spring from and have a significant impact on a broad and variegated spectrum of fields of inquiry. As the influence and importance of Gramsci's keeps on growing--indeed, as Gramsci's work is being increasingly recognized as a "classic" of political philosophy and cultural analysis--the efforts to replicate Gerratana's philological masterpiece in other languages continue to multiply.
This issue of the IGS Newsletter, like past issues, carries information that testifies not only to the continuing vitality of Gramscian studies but also to the diversity of fields in which his ideas and concepts have gained wide currency. Some of the uses and interpretations of Gramsci encountered today are debatable and even disturbing--see, for example, the misappropriations of Grasmci by the extreme right that are discussed by Rob van Kranenburg in this issue. Of course, the misuse and perverse instrumentalization of Gramsci's thought are not new phenomena, by any means. There is no better way to resist and refute the recurring distortions and abuses of Gramsci's legacy than by returning to the text of the Quaderni del carcere in the complete and reliable edition produced by Valentino Gerratana.