Antonio Gramsci: Beyond Marxism and Postmodernism

Antonio Gramsci: Beyond Marxism and Postmodernism

Antonio Gramsci: Beyond Marxism and Postmodernism

Antonio Gramsci: Beyond Marxism and Postmodernism

Synopsis

This book provides the first detailed account of Gramsci's work in the context of current critical and socio-cultural debates. Renate Holub argues that Gramsci was ahead of his time in offering a theory of art, politics and cultural production. Gramsci's achievement is discussed particularly in relation to the Frankfurt School (Adorno, Horkheimer, Benjamin, Bloch, Habermas), to Brecht's theoretical writings and to thinkers in the phenomenological tradition especially Merleau-Ponty. She argues for Gramsci's continuing relevance at a time of retreat from Marxist positions on the postmodern left. Antonio Gramsci is distinguished by its range of philosophical grasp, its depth of specialized historical scholarship, and its keen sense of Gramsci's position as a crucial figure in the politics of contemporary cultural theory.

Excerpt

Gramsci had been in prison for almost eight years when Lukács, in 1934, published two essays which are crucial for understanding the state of Marxist aesthetics in the 1930s. The first, entitled 'Art and Objective Truth', displays the epistemological foundations of Lukács' aesthetic theory. And the second focuses on what he calls the 'greatness and decline' of expressionism. At issue in this latter essay were those cultural, artistic and literary forces which Lukács considered as having taken part in the rise of fascism, and not in its prevention. Expressionism he counted among such forces. For this reason, Lukács also polemicized against expressionism, as a form of modernism, in a famous essay entitled 'Let's Talk Realism Now', published in 1937, which would incite an unprecedented international debate (in the west) on the problem of realism and modernism among the left intelligentsia. By that time Gramsci was, after eleven years in fascist prisons, no longer in a fit state to argue his case. So when against the background of fascist cultural politics exiled intellectuals like Anna Seghers, Bertolt Brecht and Ernst Bloch, but also Walter Benjamin and many others, obliged Lukács to undertake a critical review of his verdict on expressionism, Gramsci was not among the interlocutors. Nor was he there when one of the largest international writers' conventions in defence of democratic culture took place in Paris in 1935 and when the anti-fascist popular cultural front was put into effect. So when the realism/expressionism/modernism debate, as a response to the challenges of fascism, confronted the question of what kind of literature and art constituted an authentic anti-fascist politicality, and what kind of political status to assign to modernist art, when that debate raged among orthodox . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.