Antonio Gramsci

1891 - 1937
Antonio Gramsci Archive
2292 Documents


1891 On January 22, Antonio Sebastiano Francesco Gramsci was born in Ales (then in the province of Cagliari, today Oristano) to Francesco and Giuseppina Marcias. His father, originally from Gaeta, had moved to Sardinia in 1882 to take over the District Registry Office in Ghilarza. Here he had met Giuseppina, whom he married in 1883. Gennaro was born in Ghilarza in 1884. Francesco was then transferred to Ales where Grazietta (1887) and Emma (1889) were born. In the summer the family moved to Sorgono, where Francesco managed the local registry office. Here Mario (1893), Teresina (1895) and Carlo (1897) were born. 1894 He attends the kindergarten in Sorgono run by the Vincentian nuns of Sorgono. 1895 His physical deformity begins to appear, due to Pott's disease, but is attributed by his family to an alleged fall from the arms of a young maid. 1897 In October he is enrolled in the first grade of primary school, which he will not be able to attend due to poor health. 1898 On August 9 his father is arrested for an administrative irregularity. The mother moves, with her 7 children, to Ghilarza, as a guest of her half-sister Grazia Delogu. 1900 On October 27 the father is sentenced to 5 years, 8 months and 22 days in prison; he is imprisoned in Gaeta. 1903. He obtains his primary school leaving certificate, getting top marks in all subjects. Due to the difficult economic conditions of his family, he has to interrupt his studies. He starts working at the Direct Taxes and Cadastre Agency in Ghilarza. 1904. On January 31 his father is released from prison and he returns to his family in Ghilarza. He studies privately to enrol in the gymnasium. 1905. In October he enrols in the third gymnasium at the Istituto Carta-Meloni in Santu Lussurgiu. 1908. In July he takes the private exams for admission to the lyceum at the Regio Collegio Salvatore Angelo de Castro in Oristano. On October 30 he enrols in the Dettori high school in Cagliari. 1910. He publishes his first article entitled A proposito d'una rivoluzione (About a revolution) in the Cagliari newspaper «L'Unione sarda». 1911. After graduating from high school in July, he spends a few months in Oristano as a guest of his uncle Serafino as a tutor for his son Delio. In October, he wins a scholarship from the Carlo Alberto College in Turin for disadvantaged students from the old provinces of the Kingdom of Sardinia. On November 16, he enrols in the Faculty of Letters, specialising in modern philology, at the University of Turin. 1912 He spends the summer holidays with his family in Ghilarza. Prof. Matteo Bartoli assigns him some research on the Sardinian dialect and entrusts him with the care of the handouts for the glottology course of the 1912-1913 academic year. 1913 With the signature Alfa Gamma he writes the articles Per la verità (5th February) and I Futuristi (20th May) in the «Corriere Universitario». In Sardinia, he assists in the electoral campaign for the first elections with universal male suffrage (26th October - 2nd November). At the end of the year, he joins the Italian Socialist Party. 1914 In October, in the debate on the position of the PSI in the face of war, he intervenes in «Il Grido del popolo», with the article Neutralità attiva ed operante. 1915 After taking his last university exam in April, he interrupts his studies and dedicates himself to journalism. On 15 December, he is hired in the Turin editorial office of "Avanti!". At the same time, he collaborates with the socialist weekly «Il Grido del popolo». 1916 He engages in an intense journalistic activity as a theatre reporter, extender of costume notes and polemicist in the «Sotto la Mole» column of the «Avanti!». In the second half of the year, he lectures on Romain Rolland, the French Revolution and the Paris Commune. 1917 On 11 February, the single issue of the Piedmont Socialist Youth Federation «La città futura», which he fully edits, is published. In September, he takes over as director of the provisional executive of the socialist section of Turin and directs the «Grido del popolo» until December. He founds the «Club di vita morale» with a group of young Turin socialists. 1918 On 15 December, the first issue of the Piedmont edition of «Avanti!» is published, directed by Ottavio Pastore, of which he is editor together with Alfonso Leonetti, Palmiro Togliatti and Leo Galetto. 1919 In February he publishes an article entitled Stato e sovranità (State and Sovereignty) in the fortnightly «Energie nuove» directed by Piero Gobetti. In April, together with Togliatti, Angelo Tasca and Umberto Terracini, he founds «L'Ordine nuovo», a weekly socialist culture magazine, whose first issue was published on May 1st. Also in May, he is elected to the executive committee of the Turin socialist section. 1920 From May 8 o 9, he takes part as an observer in the meeting of Amadeo Bordiga's abstentionist communist fraction in Florence. On November 28 and 29, he takes part in the convention in Imola, where the communist fraction of the PSI is officially constituted. 1921 On January 1st , the first issue of the daily «L'Ordine nuovo» comes out in Turin, of which he takes over as director. He takes part in the 17th PSI Congress (15-21 January) in Leghorn. He becomes a member of the Central Committee of the Pcd'I. 1922 During the 2nd Congress of the CCP'I (20-24 March), he is appointed to represent the party in the Executive of the Ic. On May 26, he leaves for Moscow with Bordiga and Graziadei. From June 7 to 11, he takes part in the second conference of the enlarged Ic Executive. In a difficult state of health, after the conference works, he is admitted to the Serebrjanij bor health clinic, where he meets Eugenia Schucht, who is hospitalised there, and, in September, his sister Giulia. On 25 October, he is received by Lenin. Participates in the 4th Ic Congress (5 Nov. - 5 Dec.). 1923 Unable to return to Italy, due to the arrest warrant issued against him on March 2 nd by the investigating judge of the Teramo Court, he remains in Moscow. In June, he takes part in the works of the 3 rd Enlarged Executive of the IC. On December 3 rd , he arrives in Vienna and, among other things, takes care of the drafting of the third series of «L'Ordine nuovo». He keeps up a dense correspondence with Togliatti, Terracini and Mauro Scoccimarro. 1924 On February 12 th , the first issue of «l'Unità» is published in Milan. Elected as a deputy in the political elections of April 6 in the Veneto constituency, he returns to Italy on May 12. He joins the Pcd'I Executive and moves to Rome, where he takes lodgings with the German family Passarge, first in Via Vesalio 6, then at the end of the year in Via Morgagni 25. On August 10 in Moscow Giulia gives birth to their first child, Delio. A few days later, he is elected party secretary. 1925 At the end of January, he meets Tatiana (Tania) Schucht, Giulia's older sister, in Rome. Between March and April, he returns to Moscow and participates in the work of the 5 th Enlarged Executive of the Ic. On May 16th, he speaks in the Chamber against the bill on secret associations, presented by Mussolini and Alfredo Rocco. In the summer he begins working with Togliatti on the theses for the congress. In October Giulia and little Delio, together with their sister Eugenia, join him in Rome. 1926 At the 3rd CDP'I congress (Lyon, 20-26 January) he presents a report on the general political situation. At the end of August, he takes a short holiday in Trafòi (Bolzano), with Delio, Eugenia and Giulia. The latter, pregnant again, returns to Moscow, where Julian was born on August 31. On November 8, despite his parliamentary immunity, he is arrested and locked up in Regina Coeli prison in absolute isolation. In the same hours, almost the entire Communist parliamentary group is arrested. On November 18 he is assigned to police confinement; on the 25 he leaves Rome bound for Ustica, where he arrives on December 7. 1927 On January 14, Enrico Macis, examining magistrate at the Milan Military Court, issues an arrest warrant against him. On January 20, he is arrested and taken to San Vittore prison in Milan. The harsh prison life takes its toll on his health. On May 14, Tatiana joins him in Milan, but falls ill and is hospitalised until August; she will have her first prison interview with her brother-in-law on September 5 th. 1928 On May 28th at the Special Court for the Defence of the State in Rome, the trial - the socalled "big trial" - against Gramsci and the leadership group of the PCI opens. On June 4th , he is sentenced to 20 years, 4 months and 5 days imprisonment. Due to his compromised health, he is sent to the penal home for the physically and mentally handicapped in Turi. 1929 In January, he obtaines permission to write, and on February 8 th he begins drafting the Prison Notebook. By the time he leaves Turi, he will have drafted twenty-one of them. 1930 On June 16 th and 23 th he receives a visit from his brother Gennaro. Towards the end of the year, with the arrival of some party comrades in Turi, he begins a cycle of discussions on intellectuals and the party and on the Constituent Assembly. These positions provoke reactions from some comrades in prison, who accuse him of not being in line with the Ic policy of abandoning the tactic of the united front. 1931 On February 23, he asks for news of Umberto Cosmo, his professor during his university years. The new Regulations for Prison and Correctional Institutions come into force, on the basis of which from July 13 he is allowed to write to his family one letter a week. 1932 His health continues to deteriorate; in the second half of October, he is visited by the prison sanitary. Following the amnesty and amnesty for the 10th anniversary of the March on Rome, his sentence is reduced to 12 years and 4 months. He starts writing the «Special Notebooks». On December 30, his mother dies in Ghilarza. 1933 As his illness worsens, in October he applies for a transfer, which is granted. On November 19, he leaves the penal home in Turi and, after a short stay in the infirmary of the Civitavecchia prison, he reaches Prof. Cusumano's clinic in Formia. He receives a visit from Piero Sraffa. 1934 On October 14 th , Public Security Inspector Antonio Valenti informs him that his request for probation has been granted. On October 26, the decree is signed by the surveillance judge in Rome. 1935 Following a new crisis, he is transferred to the Quisisana clinic in Rome in August 1935. He definitively stopped writing the Prison Notebook, a total of 29 of notes and 4 of translations. 1937 When his probation period ends and he regains full freedom, he suffers a cerebral haemorrhage on April 25 th . Two days later, he dies. His ashes are first deposited in the Verano cemetery and in September of the following year transferred to the Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome.

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The Antonio Gramsci's Archive has been held at Fondazione Gramsci since late 1954. The recovery of the papers produced by the Sardinian leader had already begun in the aftermath of his arrest on 8 November 1926, when his sister-in-law saw to the retrieval of Gramsci's writings still kept at the house at Via Morgagni 25 in Roma. These documents, including the manuscript on the Southern Question and the preparatory studies for the party school's lecture notes, were presumably entrusted to the Russian Embassy in Rome[1]; from here, most likely via the diplomatic channel, they were sent to the party's foreign Centre in Paris, and then on to Moscow[2]. However, it has not been possible to reconstruct the path followed by these papers, the date of their return to Italy, or their introduction into the nucleus of documents attributed to Gramsci. After Gramsci's death on 27 April 1937, Tatiana took delivery of the Notebooks, the correspondence he received during his years in prison, and the administrative documentation relating to his detention (canteen booklets, receipts for books sent by the Sperling & Kupfer bookshop). In addition to this corpus was Gramsci's handwritten correspondence in Tatiana's possession and not sent - as was customary - to Moscow. The Notebooks were immediately placed in safe-keeping at the Embassy and, pending all the material being sent to Julia as per Gramsci's wishes, Tatiana began compiling an initial list of subjects dealt with in them. To initiate the recovery of all her husband's writings held by her sister in Rome, on 3 May 1937 Julia wrote to the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs and to Deputy Commissar Potemkin[3]. Togliatti also urged that the documentation be sent quickly to the USSR, and, on 11 June 1937, asked Manuilsky, the Soviet party's representative in Comintern, to have Gramsci's writings transferred[4]. Meanwhile, on 5 July 1937, Tatiana sent her sister, via diplomatic channels, "Antonio's manuscripts." The rest of the documentation, on the other hand, was sent in several tranches until December 1938, when Tania returned to Moscow after thirty years spent in Italy[5]. This documentation was integrated with that conserved by the Schucht family in Moscow: the pre-prison letters from 1922 to 1926 and the handwritten letters from prison that Tatiana had sent from Italy. The proceedings of the "Commission for the literary inheritance of Antonio Gramsci," set up at the order of Comintern to determine Gramsci's book and document legacy[6], began on 25 February 1939. In the meantime, the recovery of other originals had begun, including a handwritten notebook drawn up by Togliatti containing the list of Gramsci's letters[7] that comprised not only those to Julia and Tania, but also 11 letters sent to Vincenzo Bianco during the Viennese period and 5 sent to Giuseppe Berti during 1927-1928. On 23 December 1940, the Comintern Secretariat established a Gramsci holding at its own archives and transferred into it all the papers in the Schucht family's possession. In May 1941, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union, it became necessary to transfer all of Comintern's offices, including the archive, to Ufa. Fearing that Gramsci's manuscripts would be lost, in the spring of 1941 Giulia Schucht delivered all of Gramsci's materials in her possession, and Tatiana's letters, to Vincenzo Bianco; he in turn transported them to Ufa where the rest of the documentation was also being kept. The papers returned to Moscow most likely in late 1943 - also due to the continued requests from Togliatti who was working on their publication - and were kept in the archive of the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute. From Moscow, the papers were sent to Italy in a number of instalments: the manuscripts of the Notebooks were delivered to Togliatti by the Soviet Ambassador in Rome on 3 March 1945[8]. Meanwhile, the letters and other documents were delivered on 10 December 1946 to the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party, and from there, on 12 December, all the materials in Gramsci's personal archive were sent to Dekanozov, the Deputy People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, and then delivered to Togliatti personally[9]. Another instalment is confirmed by Paolo Robotti's letter of 13 January 1947 to Togliatti, announcing "yet another shipment of materials on Gramsci"[10]. All the materials were lodged with the PCI Directorate, which had now been established at Via delle Botteghe Oscure. These also included Tatiana's letters to Gramsci and the correspondence he received. On 21 October 1948, the PCI Secretariat decided to create a facility to house all the documentation relating to Gramsci's work and thought. Towards this end, April 1950 saw the inauguration of Fondazione Gramsci, to which the PCI Secretariat had already donated the library's volumes a month earlier. However, no reference was made to any acquisition and conservation of the writings. On 30 December 1954, Ambrogio Donini, director of Istituto Gramsci[11], informed the Party Secretariat that he had received a portion of the Gramsci documents, with the exception of the manuscripts of the Notebooks and the letters which "are still in the safe in the administrative office of the PCI Directorate,"[12] and suggested transmitting this material to a safer location. The recommendation was evidently heeded: on 28 March 1955, in a letter to Luigi Longo, Donini announced having placed the originals of the Notebooks and the letters in a safe deposit box at Banca Nazionale del Lavoro in Rome[13]. In 1963, all the documents - except for Tatiana's letters to Gramsci - were lodged definitively at Istituto Gramsci. Upon the final placement of Gramsci's papers, the works began to recover all the writings he produced and received, both during his youthful years and those in prison. With a view to publishing a new edition of the prison letters, Togliatti, with the collaboration of Elsa Fubini, made an effort to recover the documentary material held by Gramsci's original family: both by his brother Carlo in Milan and by his sister Teresina in Ghilarza. On 24 June 1963, Carlo Gramsci sent Togliatti a portion of the documents in his possession. These were 26 photocopied letters from Gramsci to his mother, Carlo, and Grazietta, from June 1924 to December 1932. Added to these were 10 original documents: the physics notebook, 3 book cards from the Ghilarza library, the papers related to his hospitalization at the Cusumano clinic in Formia and the Quisisana clinic in Rome, and the receipts for his funeral expenses. In January 1964, Togliatti informed Elsa Fubini that Tatiana's letters to Gramsci had remained in his possession; however, we do not know the date of their inclusion in the Gramsci letter collection. On 4 April 1968, Teresina Gramsci donated the typewritten transcriptions of Gramsci's letters to the family during the period from 1908 to 1913, relating to his secondary-school and university years. The recovery of certain letters during his university years addressed to Gramsci by Angelo Tasca, Cesare Berger, and Giovanni Vittorio Amoretti is also likely to date to the 1960s. The family donations were followed, in July 1974, by that of Piero Sraffa, who delivered to Elsa Fubini the originals of the 4 letters in his possession, handwritten from 1924 to 1927. In December 1981, Giuliano Gramsci gave the Istituto 5 letters from Gramsci to Tatiana, Julia, and Delio, relating to the years 1927-1930. The recovery of the Gramsci documentation also continued in the 1990s. In 1994, following research by Silvio Pons, copied documents originating from the various holdings of Rossijskij Gosudarstvennyj Archiv Sotsial'no-Politiceskoj Istorii (RGASPI, Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History) were deposited at Fondazione Gramsci. In particular, new letters in the correspondence between Gramsci and the members of the PCd'I for the years 1922-1926 were discovered. Also retrieved from RGASPI holding 519 were 4 letters handwritten by Gramsci to Tatiana in 1933 (3 in August and one in October) and the transcription of a June 1930 letter to Gennaro Gramsci. In 1999, Diddi Paulesu, Gramsci's nephew and heir to the papers kept by Teresina, delivered the photographic reproductions of 53 of Gramsci's letters to family members from 1908 to 1933, 20 letters from Gramsci's family members and classmates - including Eraldo Marica, Ignazio Deidda, and Agostino Careddu - and some documents relating to his school years. In 2005, Mimma Paulesu Quercioli donated to the Foundation the originals of 85 letters handwritten by Gramsci from 1924 to 1933, and a postcard from Angelo Tasca dating to 1912. In July 2005 and March 2006, Antonio Gramsci Jr., Giuliano's son, donated the original of an initial portion of the documents kept at his home in Moscow, which were followed by digital copies in May 2007 and May 2008. The new documentation, thanks to which above all Tatiana's correspondence with the family members could be reconstructed, also allowed gaps in the Gramsci letter collection to be filled with the inclusion of 46 letters received by Gramsci during his prison years. Three more letters by Gramsci from 1927-1928, albeit only photocopies, were discovered among the papers of Elsa Fubini, the archive's long-time curator. During the 2022, the heirs of the Scotti family donated three themes wrote by Gramsci in 1911. [1] Cfr. Tatiana's letter to the family, December 1926 in T. Schucht, Lettere ai familiari, ed. Mimma Paulesu Quercioli, Roma, Editori riuniti, 1991, p. 22. [2] Cfr. Ruggero Grieco's letter to Camilla Ravera, January 1927 in A. Gramsci-T. Schucht, Lettere 1926-1935, ed. A. Natoli and C. Daniele, Torino, Einaudi, 1997, pp. 25-26. [3] The letter is published in Italian translation by P. Spriano, L'ultima ricerca, Roma, "L'Unità" editrice, 1988, p. 32. [4] FG, AAG, Gramsci dopo la morte. [5] Cfr. G. Gramsci, Ricordo di Tatiana, in T. Schucht, Lettere ai familiari, cit., p. XVIIII. [6] The Commission's materials are in RGASPI, holding 519, repository 1, file 114. [7] This notebook, whose exact compilation date is unknown, is fully reproduced in Togliatti editore di Gramsci, ed. C. Daniele, Roma, Carocci, Fondazione Istituto Gramsci, Annale XIII, 2005, pp. 233-88. [8] APC, Internazionale comunista, Comitato centrale del Pcus (17), inv. 128, fasc. 42. [9] Ibidem, fasc. 966. [10] FG, AAG, Gramsci dopo la morte. [11] In 1954, the Fondazione was transformed into an Istituto, and the director was joined by a management board. In 1982, the Istituto was made a Fondazione legally recognized by the State. [12] FG, AAG, Gramsci dopo la morte. [13] FG, AAG, Gramsci dopo la morte. Latest update February 2023.

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The archival holding contains documentation from his school years until his death. It conserves drawings, school essay, notes on glottology and the notes for preparing the Party school's lecture notes. It also includes the handwritten manuscript: Alcuni temi della quistione meridionale ("Some topics on the southern question"). The Letter Collection series is substantial, containing the received correspondence and Gramsci's handwritten manuscripts from 1906 to 1937. Also conserved are the original handwritten manuscripts of the Prison Notebooks, the proceedings related to cremation and burial paperwork, and the correspondence relating to Gramsci and his family members, between the Rome police headquarters and the Turi detention facility. The archive is organized in 4 series: 1. Personal papers 2. Letter collection 3. Prison Notebooks 4. Documents on Antonio Gramsci