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Abstract

This is a translation into English of the Dizionario gramsciano entry “Philology” by Ludovico De Lutiis. Philology, the “methodological expression of the importance of particular facts”, underlies Gramsci’s writings in the Notebooks and lies at the centre of various reflections; it is indispensable for reconstructing an author’s thought and, indeed, the past. Gramsci drew inspiration for his own anti-positivist approach, con-trasted to that of Bukharin, in part from Ernst Bernheim’s outline of historical method . Reading a text or situation, and knowing how not to read too much into it (a refusal to “importune” [sollecitare] the text), is essential to objective, dispassionate understanding. In these terms the interpretation of the present is “living philology”, where “human nature is the totality of historically determined social relations”. This “philology of history and politics” form part of Gramsci’s critique of determinist Marxism. Through the interpretation of a situation by a “collective organism”, i.e. through “living philology”, the essential link is formed “between great mass, party and leading group” in order to “move together as ‘collective-man’”.

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