Manuel S. Almeida Rodríguez
Universidad de Puerto Rico
We take advantage of the 70th death anniversary of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci (1891 – 1937) to make a general revision of his work’s influence, especially his “Prison Notebooks”. We place our emphasis on one of the least studied topics in Gramscian Studies, his prison writings about linguistic issues. He had manifested a keen interest for linguistics and philology while he was a student at the University of Turin, and his interest for linguistics continued in his prison notebooks. This essay describes the general outlines of Gramscian concepts of language. It shows how he was influenced by debates in the field of Italian linguistics between “Neogrammatics” and “Neolinguists”. Furthermore, we can see that Gramsci’s interest in linguistic topics reflects his underlying preoccupation with the “question of language” in Italy. This latter fact gives an explicit political tone to its writings about this subject. Finally, we conduct a brief analysis of some of the principal proposals of notebook 29, dedicated completely to the study of grammar.
Keywords: gramscian Studies, language, political theory