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2. Influences and Differences: The Formation of Gramsci’s Views

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores Gramsci's familiarity with sources where Gramsci's knowledge can be documented, and others for which such knowledge can only be inferred through the study of his writings and of his life. It discusses four linguistic themes on which Gramsci might have been influenced also by other authors and debates, and not just by the ones he explicitly mentions in the Prison Notebooks. The four themes are echoes of Ferdinand de Saussure's ideas, language and social classes, the glottopolitical aspects of Lenin's influence on Gramsci, and the search for a universal language. The chapter examines Gramsci's familiarity with the aspect of Lenin's work concerning language legislation. It also explores the extent of Gramsci's knowledge of the language-policy and language-planning practices which followed the October Revolution, and of the measures which were thereby enacted in various Soviet Republics.

Keywords: Ferdinand de Saussure's theories; glottopolitical aspects; Gramsci; language classes; Lenin's work; linguistic communication; Prison Notebooks; social classes; Soviet Republics



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