English - Studies on the Prison Notebooks

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Gramscian historiography about Risorgimento

In 1952 Federico Chabod writes a wide essay about Croce as historian; we can find here a unique, but crucial, reference to the Gramscian thesis about the lack of agrarian issue during Risorgimento: this thought should be a result of the political experience of biennium 1919-1920, «when socialism couldn’t attract rural mass»[1]. Four years after Domenico Novacco[2], working on Adolfo Omodeo, starts exactly from Gramsci’s Notebooks, even if they’re are very critical, to introduce the reader to the Palermitan historian’s work and its essential validity, accepted even from Marxist historians that draw on Gramsci’s interpretations. Also Leo Valiani, in his work about the history of socialist movements in Italy[3], is interested in Gramsci’s notes on Risorgimento: a movement marked by the lack of Jacobin traits, where the origins of italian socialism can be found in the real democratic movement.

A wide interest about Gramsci’s historiographical interpretations on Risorgimento starts with Rosario Romeo’s work[4], where springing from liberal studies, he describes Gramscian view as «risorgimental revisionism», invalidated by its own «practical-political nature, so basically antihistorical»[5]. This work goes on with an analysis about the studies on the movements of peasants and workers, with positive or unfavourable judgments according to whether the acceptance or denial of Gramsci’s thesis.

Aldo Romano, answering Romeo’s critics against himself, publishes on the same review «Nord e Sud» a letter to the editor Francesco Compagna (author of an essay about Southern Question, mentioned below), where Romeo gives clarifications, missed by Romeo, on his own historiographical studies.

On the pages of «Cronache Meridionali», on a marxist side, Rosario Villari[6] shows analytically to Romeo his mistakes by reading Gramsci and stresses its importance, while Claudio Pavone points out how Romeo’s attempt to use a marxist interpretation against one’s antagonists has failed and at the same time considers as suppositions the conclusions wrote on Il Risorgimento in Sicilia[7].

Luciano Cafagna takes stock of the debate sparked off on the polemical cathegory defined «risorgimental revisionism»[8], but, first of all, he goes over Gramscian theorical work again: from the overcoming of risorgimental theories by Oriani, to the concurrence with Gobetti’s thoughts, laying stress on the interest of the Sardinian thinker for the creation of a democratic movement laid on national basis, that could involve country masses against feudal remnants. Cafagna notices yet how Gramscian thesis look as an incentive for Romeo himself writing about the relationship between peasant’s social issue and capitalist development.

Completing this general outline, we can observe that in the Nota bibliografica gave over Risorgimento on Storia dell'Italia moderna by Giorgio Candeloro[9], among th interpretations of Croce and Gobetti, stands out Gramsci’s marxist analysis.

Costanzo Casucci[10] as well, in an essay on the First World War , recognize worth to Gramsci’s historiographical interpretation who, unlike historiographical opposite wings, didn’t evade the political issue brought by Caporetto defeat and its legacy.

[1] Federico Chabod, Croce storico, in «Rivista Storica Italiana», LXIV, 1952, p. 521 (->52.08).

[2] Domenico Novacco, Adolfo Omodeo, il marxismo e la storia del Risorgimento, in «Belfagor», XI, 1956, pp. 183-90 (->56.13).

[3] Leo Valiani, La storia del movimento socialista in Italia dalle origini al 1921. Studi e ricerche nel decennio 1945-1955, in «Rivista Storica Italiana», LXVIII, 1956, pp. 447-510 (->56.21).

[4] Rosario Romeo, La storiografia politica marxista, in «Nord e Sud», II, 1956, n. 21 e 22, pp. 5-37 e 16-44 (->56.19).

[5] Ivi, p. 33.

[6] Rosario Villari, Questione agraria e sviluppo del capitalismo nel Risorgimento, in «Cronache Meridionali», III, 1956, pp. 536-542 (->56.23).

[7] Rosario Romeo, Il Risorgimento in Sicilia, Bari, Laterza, 1950, p. 422.

[8] Luciano Cafagna, Intorno al «revisionismo risorgimentale», in «Società», XII, 1956, pp. 1015-35 (->56.12).

[9] Giorgio Candeloro, Nota bibliografica, in Storia dell’Italia moderna, Feltrinelli, Milano 1956, vol. I, Le origini del Risorgimento, pp. 388-394 (->56.08).

[10] Costanzo Casucci, Caporetto, in «Lo Spettatore Italiano», VIII, 1955, pp. 498-504 (->55.15).

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