The international dissemination of Gramsci's thought and its study will be greatly helped by the publication, currently under way, of the German translation in a critical edition of the integral text of the Prison Notebooks. The first volume of this edition, which is being published by the Argument publishing house in Hamburg, appeared in 1991 and the final volume is scheduled to appear in 1995. This difficult project was undertaken without the benefit of financial support from any private or public source; its realization is owed entirely to the initiative and the energies of a small group of scholars and translators (Ruedi Graf, Peter Jehle, Gerhard Kuck, Joachim Meinert, Leoni Schröder) working under the direction of Klaus Bochmann, a sepcialist in Romance languages from the University of Leipzig, and the philosopher and political theorist Wolfgang F. Haug of the Free University in Berlin--both of whom have written extensively on Gramsci.
Four volumes of this translation and critical edition have already been published. The first volume of Gefängnishefte came out in 1991 and contains the translation of Notebook 1, in addition to an introductory essay and the critical apparatus. Volume 2 (1991) contains the text and critical apparatus of Notebooks 2 and 3; Volume 3 (1992) includes Notebooks 4 and 5 [END PAGE 15] and the relevant critical apparatus; and Volume 4 (1992) contains the text and critical apparatus of Notebooks 6 and 7.
Among the many interesting aspects of this German edition, two in particular stand out: one is lexical and the other cultural in nature. In the first place, it should be noted that the translation of Gramsci's mature thought into German often entails the re-translation of terms and concepts which Gramsci took from German in the first place and translated (giving them a new semantic value in the process) into Italian. This is the case, for example, with the term "società civile" ["civil society"]--the Hegelian and Marxian "bügerlische Gesellschaft"--which the German translators rendered with the neologism "Zivilgesellschaft". (This neologism had been employed earlier by Sabine Kebir in her book Antonio Gramscis Zivilgesellschaft, Hamburg: VSA, 1991.) Another example is the pair of terms "struttura / supperstruttura" which (starting with Volume 3) the German translators have consistently rendered as "Struktur / Supertstuktur" instead of "Basis / Überbau" (see Vol. 3, p.A213). A second noteworthy feature of the German edition concerns the annotations which have been added to supplement the already existing notes supplied by Valentino Gerratana in Italian critical edition. By enriching the annotations in the critical apparatus, the German editors (like the editor of the English language edition, Joseph Buttigieg) are seeking to make Gramsci's work more accessible to the readers of their translation. As the preparation of the edition progressed, the German editors increasingly felt the need to amplify the ciritical apparatus.
The German edition constitues a concrete example of Gramsci's theory of the "translatability" of one national culture into another. It also demonstrates how the work of translation helps to bring into relief the theoretical dimension of Gramsci's work.
The English Gramsci scholar Derek Boothman (already known for his admirable contributions to Gramscian philology, and especially for his detailed work on the primary and secondary sources of the Prison Notebooks) is in the final stages of completing a selection (in English translation) from the Notebooks dealing primarily with theoretical issues--a volume which take its place alongside the well known and widely used anthologies edited by Q. Haore and G. Nowell Smith, and D. Forgacs. In Boothman's volume the materials will be gathered under the following rubrics: Religion, Education, History of Economics, Contemporary Economic Trends, Science and Translatability, Croce I [Notebook 10, I], Croce II [Notebook 10, II, etc.]. Boothman will also supply a general introductory essay and brief introductions to each section.
A French-Italian conference on "Modernité de Gramsci" was held in Besançon (France) on 23-25 November 1989. The conference was organised by the Université de la Franche- Comté and the Fondazione Istituto Gramsci of Rome. The proceeding of the conference are now available in a volume edited by André Tosel, Modernité de Gramsci?, (Besançon: Annales Littéraires de l'Université de Besançon, 1992). The volume includes sections on Gramsci and France / Gramsci in France (with contributions by G. Labica, S. Solomon, J. Robelin, A. Tosel); capitalism and socialism (J.-P. Potier, Ch. Barrere, G. Baratta, G. Vacca); social conflict, organization and politics (A. Santucci, E. Buissiere, A. Bechelloni, F. Sbarberi, E. Balibar, G. Prestipino, C. Preve); intellectuals, individuality and conformism (A. Showstack Sassoon, C. Mancina, J. Texier); and the philosophy of praxis (D. Losurdo, F. Izzo, A. Tosel, A. Jaulin). The volume also contains a bibliography-- prepared by J.-Y. Loiget--of French publications on Gramsci.
André Tosel has also relatively recently written a book which should be of special interest to Gramsci scholars, among others. It is, Marx en italiques. Aux origines de la philosophie
italienne contemporaine (Mauvezin: Trans-Europ-Repress, 1991). The first part of the book reconstructs the turn of the century Italian debate on Marxist theory (Labriola, Croce, and Gentile), while the second part provides an exposition of Gramsci's philosophy of praxis.
Another interesting book on Gramsci is Marcello Montanari's La libertà e il tempo. Osservazioni sulla democrazia tra Marx e Gramsci (Rome: Editori Riuniti, 1991). Among other [END PAGE 16] things it includes a chapter on the "philosophy of praxis" and another on Gramsci and democracy.
Two other volumes devoted to Gramscian studies are being prepared and should be published in the near future. One of them is being edited by Giorgio Baratta and Andrea Catone with the title "Un progresso intelletuale di massa." Incontro con Antonio Gramsci and will published in Milan by Unicopli--its contents are based on the papers delivered at an international conference held in Urbino in November 1987 (with contributions by F. Frosini, A. Catone, D. Losurdo, V. Gerratana, G. Baratta, P. Angelini, M. B. Luporini, U. Apitsch, and L. Belpassi). The other projected volume will consist of the proceedings of another conference devoted to Gramscian studies held in Urbino in 1992 and it will be published under the auspices of Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici.
The Italian review L'Indice dei libri del mese devoted several pages of its February 1993 issue to an inquiry on the status of Gramsci's thought. The special section, entitled "Capire Gramsci, capire la realtà," was edited by Giorgio Baratta and Fabio Frosini, who also contributed articles to it. Several scholars were asked whether and why Gramsci is relevant to their current work. The responses reproduced in the special section are from: Ètienne Balibar, Valentino Gerratana, Peter Glotz, Irina V. Gregorieva, Eric Hobsbawm, Romano Luperini, and Edward W. Said.
Every year during the weekend of Pentecost a political-cultural manifestation called the Volksuni is held in Berlin. This year, one day of the Volksuni--Monday, 31st May--will be devoted the topic "Reading Gramsci / Reading Reality". The participants will include Francisco Fernandez Buey, Joseph Buttigieg, Valentino Gerratana, Stuart Hall, Georges Labica, among others. There will also be a screening of Giorgio Baratta's film A teatro con Gramsci e Dario Fo (produced by the cultural organization "Le Rose e i Quaderni", via della Consulta, 00184 Rome; Tel. 06/4815250).