Caesarism and Bonapartism in Gramsci

Hegemony and the Crisis of Modernity


Shortlisted for the Deutscher Memorial Prize 2021.
Winner of the prestigious 'Giuseppe Sormani​ International Prize' for works on Antonio Gramsci (Fifth edition, 2020).

In Caesarism and Bonapartism in Gramsci, Francesca Antonini offers a fresh insight into Antonio Gramsci’s thought. Building on the achievements of recent Gramscian scholarship, she investigates his usage of the concepts of Bonapartism and Caesarism, both in his pre-prison writings and in the Prison Notebooks. The Caesarist-Bonapartist paradigm relates crucially to Gramsci’s reflections on hegemony and on its transformations across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While this model is essential to Gramsci’s understanding of the interwar period and of the Fascist regime in Italy, it also sheds a meaningful light on other past and present scenarios, from the French Second Empire to the USSR of his time. Finally, yet importantly, Antonini's analysis illuminates Gramsci’s approach towards the Marxian legacy.

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Francesca Antonini, Ph.D. (2015), is Early Career Fellow in Intellectual History at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany). Previously, she has held research fellowships at the ENS Lyon (France) and at the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi (Turin, Italy).
Shortlisted for the Deutscher Memorial Prize 2021.

Caesarism and Bonapartism in Gramsci is winner of the prestigious 'Giuseppe Sormani​ International Prize' for works on Antonio Gramsci (Fifth edition, 2020).

"Antonini’s book is very significant in comprehending and situating the place of Marx’s works in Gramsci’s theory; but also in analysing the current occurrence of authoritarian and quasi-fascist regimes in the light of his concepts. The book gives detailed and elaborative research on Gramscian Caesarism..."
- Sevgi Doğan, in: Marx and Philosophy Reviews of Books, 15 April 2021 [ Full review]

“... la studiosa mostra, senza possibilità di equivoci, come tale rielaborazione sia tutto fuorché un blocco omogeneo e statico; essa percorre infatti una lunga traiettoria diacronica che abbraccia più di vent’anni e vede convivere al suo interno diversi (e sensibili) cambiamenti dell’orizzonte interpretativo."
( “...the scholar shows, without the possibility of misunderstanding, how this re-elaboration [of the categories of Caesarism and Bonapartism] is anything but a homogeneous and static block; in fact, it traces a long trajectory that spans more than twenty years and shows different nuances within the interpretative horizon in which it takes place.”)
- Alessio Panichi, Johns Hopkins University, in: Storia del pensiero politico 1 (2021)
Preface: Gramsci on Caesarism and Bonapartism
Note on the Text

1 The Concepts of Bonapartism and Caesarism from Marx to Gramsci
 1  The Genesis of the Category between Historiography and Political Polemics
 2  Marx: From The Eighteenth Brumaire to The Civil War in France
 3  Across the Nineteenth and the Twentieth Centuries

2 The Pre-prison Writings
 1  Two (Almost) Neglected Categories
 2  Marx, Gramsci and the Marxian Sources

3 Socialism and Romanticism
 1  Against Maximalism and Reformism: Reckoning with Italian Socialism
 2  The ‘Romance’ of the Italian Bourgeoisie

4 Crisis and Balance: Between Revolution and Restoration
 1  Gramsci’s Political Theory: Crisis and Balance
 2  The Catastrophic Crisis of Capitalism
 3  The Balance Metaphor: The Origins of the ‘Relations of Force’

5 Bonapartism, Caesarism and Fascism in Gramsci’s Journalistic Works
 1  The Crisis of the Liberal Order and the Rise of Fascism
 2  A (Critical) Theory of State and Politics
 3  Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire: Analogies and Analyses
 4  On the Gramsci-Marx Relationship in the Pre-prison Writings

6 Towards the Prison Notebooks
 1  Continuity and Novelty
 2  The Editions of Marx’s Texts
 3  Overview of the Occurrences

7 The Meanings of ‘Bonapartism’
 1  Bonapartism in the Prison Notebooks
 2  Militarism and War of Movement
 3  Gramsci and the So-called ‘Dictatorships of Depretis, Crispi and Giolitti’
 4  Bonapartism and Bureaucracy

8 Between Bonapartism and Caesarism
 1  Anachronistic Revival or Useful Analytical Tool?
 2  Q 13, §§ 23 and 27 and Their First Drafts
 3  Further Occurrences

9 Gramsci and the Theory of Caesarism
 1  Michels and ‘Charismatic Leadership’
 2  ‘The Old Is Dying and the New Cannot Be Born’
 3  The Dreyfus Affair and the ‘Tendential’ Character of the Catastrophic Crisis
 4  The ‘Taxonomy’ of Caesarism

10 Caesarism and Historical Analysis
 1  Gramscian ‘Concerns’
 2  The Historico-political Framework of the Prison Notebooks
 3  Caesarism and Passive Revolution

11 Hegemony and Modernity
 1  Twentieth-Century Caesarism
 2  Crisis of Authority and Caesarist-Bonapartist Solutions
 3  A New Form of Hegemony

12 Contemporary Caesarism(s)
 1  Totalitarian Trends
 2  Between Moscow and Rome
 3  ‘Alternative Modernities’
 4  ‘Caesarism without a Caesar’ and the Issue of the Modern Prince

13 Caesarism, Bonapartism and the ‘Return to Marx’ in the Prison Writings
 1  Gramsci and the Marxian Legacy
 2  Caesarism and Bonapartism in the Prison Notebooks

Name Index
Subject Index
All interested in the thought of Antonio Gramsci and in the history of the concepts of Caesarism and Bonapartism, and anyone concerned with 19th-20th century Italian Marxism.