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Giovanni Gentile

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Giovanni Gentile
Gentile, 1930s
President of the Royal Academy of Italy
In office
25 July 1943 – 15 April 1944
MonarchVictor Emmanuel III
Preceded byLuigi Federzoni
Succeeded byGiotto Dainelli Dolfi
Minister of Public Education
In office
31 October 1922 – 1 July 1924
Prime MinisterBenito Mussolini
Preceded byAntonino Anile
Succeeded byAlessandro Casati
Member of the Senate of the Kingdom
In office
5 November 1922 – 5 August 1943
Appointed byVictor Emmanuel III
Personal details
Born(1875-05-30)30 May 1875
Castelvetrano, Kingdom of Italy
Died15 April 1944(1944-04-15) (aged 68)
Florence, RSI
Resting placeSanta Croce,
Florence, Italy
Political partyNational Fascist Party
Height1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Erminia Nudi
(m. 1901)
Children6, including Federico Gentile
Alma materScuola Normale Superiore[1]
University of Florence[1]
ProfessionPhilosopher, politician, pedagogue

Philosophy career
Notable work
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Main interests
Metaphysics, dialectics, pedagogy
Notable ideas
Actual idealism, fascism, immanentism (method of immanence)[2]

Giovanni Gentile (Italian: [dʒoˈvanni dʒenˈtiːle]; 30 May 1875 – 15 April 1944) was an Italian philosopher, fascist politician, and pedagogue.

He, alongside Benedetto Croce, was one of the major exponents of Italian idealism in Italian philosophy, and also devised his own system of thought, which he called "actual idealism" or "actualism", which has been described as "the subjective extreme of the idealist tradition".

Described by himself and by Benito Mussolini as the "philosopher of fascism", he was influential in providing an intellectual foundation for Italian fascism, notably through writing the 1925 Manifesto of the Fascist Intellectuals, and part of the 1932 "The Doctrine of Fascism" with Mussolini. As Minister for Public Education, he introduced in 1923 the so-called Gentile Reform, which would last in some capacity until 1962. He also helped found the Institute of the Italian Encyclopedia with Giovanni Treccani, and was its first editor.

Though his political influence waned as Mussolini sought the alliance of the Catholic Church in the late 1920s, which conflicted with Gentile's secularism, he remained a faithful Fascist, even after the 1943 armistice with the Allies, and followed Mussolini into the Italian Social Republic. He was eventually assassinated in 1944 by partisans of the Italian resistance.



Early life and career


Gentile was born in Castelvetrano, Italy. He was inspired by Risorgimento-era Italian intellectuals such as Mazzini, Rosmini, Gioberti, and Spaventa from whom he borrowed the idea of autoctisi, "self-construction", but also strongly influenced and mentored by the German idealist and materialist schools of thought – namely Karl Marx, Hegel, and Fichte, with whom he shared the ideal of creating a Wissenschaftslehre (Epistemology), a theory for a structure of knowledge that makes no assumptions. Friedrich Nietzsche, too, influenced him, as seen in an analogy between Nietzsche's Übermensch and Gentile's Uomo Fascista.[3] In religion he presented himself as a Catholic (of sorts), and emphasised actual idealism's Christian heritage; Antonio G. Pesce insists that 'there is in fact no doubt that Gentile was a Catholic', but he occasionally identified himself as an atheist, albeit one who was still culturally a Catholic.[4][5]

He won a fierce competition to become one of four exceptional students of the prestigious Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, where he enrolled in the Faculty of Humanities.

In 1898 he graduated in Letters and Philosophy with a dissertation titled Rosmini e Gioberti, that he realized under the supervision of Donato Jaja, a disciple of Bertrando Spaventa.[6]

During his academic career, Gentile served in a number of positions, including:

A long-time collaborator of Benedetto Croce, the two first became friends in 1896 and remained close until 1925, when Croce sided against fascism and Gentile for it with their Manifesto of the Anti-Fascist Intellectuals and Manifesto of the Fascist Intellectuals respectively.[7][8]

First World War


Gentile was largely uninvolved with politics prior to the outbreak of World War One; he saw himself as a consevative liberal in the vein of Cavour, but mostly concerned himself with writing on the matters of education.[9] Like many Italians, however, the war marked the start of more active involvement in politics, and publicly declared himself for Italy's intervention in the war after the disastrous Battle of Caporetto in 1917, though was privately one from the outbreak of the war.[10] He saw the war as the emergence of a new Italy, which had to fight and destroy the "easy-going, idle Italy", "known for its faint-hearted nature, its individualism, its poor sense of taste and its tendency to withdraw into private egoism..."; it was a chance to complete the Risorgimento and uphold its ideals.[11]

Despite his ardent support of the war, he remained staunch in his criticism of the extreme nationalists such as Enrico Corradini and the Italian Nationalist Association for their rejection of liberalism.[12] By the end of the war in 1918, he was attacking much of the Italian political sphere: the Socialists and the Catholics of the future Popular Party for their opposition to the national state; the Vatican as a hostile independent power opposed to the existence of Italy; and the liberal trasformismo of Giovanni Giolitti and the Italian Parliament, marred by endless squabbling, and now an outdated relic in the face of the "new Italy" birthed by the experience of war.[13]

Gentile was indignant at the rejection of Italy's claims, set out in the 1915 Treaty of London, at the Paris Peace Conference. Not only did it fail to respect the hard-fought gains of the "new Italy", but encouraged fatalism, liberal back-biting, and the questioning of the ideals of intervention in the first place—that is, of the spiritual envigoration that Gentile saw as the most significant consequence of the war.[14] As such, he would support the ultranationalist poet Gabriele D'Annunzio's 1919 occupation of Fiume,[15] which was an important precursor to Fascism.[16] Nonetheless, he continued to believe in liberal democracy and praised the new Prime Minister, Francesco Saverio Nitti, for his committment to national economic recovery.[17] As the post-war period wore on, Gentile saw no sign of the spiritual revolution within Italian liberal society that he had hoped for, and became increasingly disillusioned; he disengaged with active politics in 1920 and would not return to it until Benito Mussolini's 1922 seizure of power in the March on Rome,[18] by which point fascist doctrine was largely complete.[19]

Involvement with Fascism


Minister of Public Education, 1922–1924


In 1922, on the recommendation of Benedetto Croce, who had refused the role himself, Gentile was named Minister for Public Education for the government of Benito Mussolini.[20] The cabinet, though strongly right-wing, was broadly non-partisan;[21] Gentile's inclusion, alongside several other notable non-fascists, was taken as a sign of reconciliation and the promised return to law-and-order.[22] He officially joined the National Fascist Party in 1923.[23]

In his capacity as Minister for Public Education, he instituted the 1923 Gentile Reform, which was the first major reform of the education system since the Unification of Italy and the Casati Law [it][24][25] Despite lacking any substantial education policy prior to coming to power, it was the first significant piece of legislation of the Fascist regime; Mussolini described it as the "most Fascist reform".[26]

Based on philosophically idealist and conservative elitist ideas, it was designed to help form the new elite of Fascist society[27] and to reduce the number of intellectual graduates saturating the job market.[28]

An additional purpose of the reform was to improve the regime's relationship with the Catholic Church. It made religious instruction mandatory in junior schools, gave equal distinction to private (notably Catholic) and state schools, and allowed both to sit the same qualification exams for entrance into higher education; these were important elements of the programme of the Catholic Popular party, and did much to shore up Catholic opinion of the Fascist regime—a long-standing problem for Italian governments due to the Roman Question—as part of a wider programme of concessions by Mussolini to the Vatican.[25][29] However, it did not go far enough to completely please the Church. Complaints remained over the fact that religious teaching was neither given by priests, nor extended beyond the junior schools.[25][30]

Included in this reform was an attempt to limit the number of women teachers in schools, part of Italian Fascism's wider campaign against feminism, suggesting that:

Women do not have, nor will they ever have, either the moral or mental vigor to teach in those schools which formed the ruling class of the country.[31]

Under Gentile's reform, the secondary school system was substantially reorganised. The technical schools (scuola technica), relied on by the middle class for educational attainment and in which pupil numbers had increased rapidly since 1900, were abolished. In their place were "complementary schools" (scuola complementare), general education schools which did not allow access to universities or further qualifications.[32] Entry into particular fields, such as science and engineering, were restricted to other specialised secondary schools. The curriculum was also rearranged, emphasising the humanities and especially philosophy; teaching of Latin was also more widely introduced.[33]

Pupil numbers were successfully reduced under Gentile's new system. Secondary school student numbers dropped from 337,000 to 237,000 between 1923 and 1926–27, and university students by 13,000, from 53,000 in 1919–20 to 40,000 in 1928–29. Enrollment in the technical schools, and the complementary schools that replaced them, dropped by half from 1922–23 to 1923–24.[34]

The reform, which had produced a system far more complicated than before, proved unpopular. After Gentile left his position in 1924, it would be gradually dismantled by his successors[35]; the "complementary schools" were abolished in 1930, and in 1939 then-Minister for Education Giuseppe Bottai made further sweeping changes to the education system.[36]

He resigned his position in 1924 during the Matteotti Crisis. Christopher Seton-Watson suggested it was in protest of the murder of Giacomo Matteotti;[37] Gabriele Turi disputes this, writing instead that the purpose of his resignation was to reinforce the Fascist regime and relieve Mussolini's cabinet of his own unpopular presence.[38]

After the Matteotti Crisis


In 1925, Gentile headed two constitutional commissions that helped establish the corporate state of Fascism as part of the Exceptional Fascist Laws [it], and was a member of the Fascist Grand Council from 1925 to 1929.[39]

Giovanni Gentile and Benito Mussolini examining the first volumes of the Enciclopedia Italiana

Giovanni Gentile was described by Mussolini, and by himself, as "the philosopher of Fascism"; he was the ghostwriter of the first part of the essay "The Doctrine of Fascism" (1932), attributed to Mussolini.[40] It was first published in 1932, in the Italian Encyclopedia, wherein he described the traits characteristic of Italian Fascism at the time: compulsory state corporatism, Philosopher Kings, the abolition of the parliamentary system, and autarky. He also wrote the Manifesto of the Fascist Intellectuals which was signed by a number of writers and intellectuals, including Luigi Pirandello, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Giuseppe Ungaretti.

Gentile's political influence in the regime waned in the late 1920s. He lost favor for remarking that fascism was a minority movement, and was further sidelined following the Lateran Treaty, with his anti-clericalism no longer appropriate if the regime was to maintain the support of the Catholic Church.[41] Gentile remained loyal to Mussolini, however, and continued to support him even after the fall of the Fascist government in 1943, following him in the establishment of the Republic of Salò, a puppet state of Nazi Germany, and accepted an appointment in its government despite having criticized its anti-Jewish laws. Gentile was the last president of the Royal Academy of Italy (1943–1944).[42]


Bruno Fanciullacci, Gentile's assassin

On 30 March 1944, Gentile received death threats blaming him for the execution of the Martyrs of Campo di Marte by Republic of Salò troops and accusing him of promoting fascism.[43] Only two weeks later on 15 April 1944, Bruno Fanciullacci and Antonio Ignesti, both of whom belonged to the communist partisan organization Gruppi di Azione Patriottica (GAP), approached Gentile in his parked car, hiding pistols behind a book. When Gentile lowered the car window to speak to them, he was immediately hit with several bullets to the chest and heart, killing him. Fanciullacci was killed several months later as he tried to escape capture.[38][44]

Gentile's assassination divided the anti-fascist front. It was disapproved of by the Tuscan branch of the CLN with the sole exception of the Italian Communist Party, which approved the assassination and claimed responsibility for it.[45]

Villa di Montalto in Florence, location of Giovanni Gentile's assassination. Fascist and Communist graffiti honouring and denouncing Gentile, respectively, is visible.

Gentile was buried in the church of Santa Croce in Florence.[46]



Benedetto Croce wrote that Gentile "...holds the honor of having been the most rigorous neo-Hegelian in the entire history of Western philosophy and the dishonor of having been the official philosopher of Fascism in Italy."[47] His philosophical basis for fascism was rooted in his understanding of ontology and epistemology, in which he found vindication for the rejection of individualism, and acceptance of collectivism, with the state as the ultimate location of authority and loyalty outside of which individuality had no meaning (and which in turn helped justify the totalitarian dimension of fascism).[48]

The conceptual relationship between Gentile's actual idealism and his conception of fascism is not self-evident. The supposed relationship does not appear to be based on logical deducibility. That is, actual idealism does not entail a fascist ideology in any rigorous sense.[original research?] Gentile enjoyed fruitful intellectual relations with Croce from 1899 – and particularly during their joint editorship of La Critica from 1903 to 1922 – but broke philosophically and politically from Croce in the early 1920s over Gentile's embrace of fascism. (Croce assesses their philosophical disagreement in Una discussione tra filosofi amici in Conversazioni Critiche, II.)

Ultimately, Gentile foresaw a social order wherein opposites of all kinds weren't to be considered as existing independently from each other; that 'publicness' and 'privateness' as broad interpretations were currently false as imposed by all former kinds of government, including capitalism and communism; and that only the reciprocal totalitarian state of corporatism, a fascist state, could defeat these problems which are made from reifying as an external reality that which is in fact, to Gentile, only a reality in thinking. Whereas it was common in the philosophy of the time to see the conditional subject as abstract and the object as concrete, Gentile postulated (after Hegel) the opposite, that the subject is concrete and the object a mere abstraction (or rather, that what was conventionally dubbed "subject" is in fact only conditional object, and that the true subject is the act of being or essence of the object).

Gentile was, because of his actualist system, a notable philosophical presence across Europe during his time. At its base, Gentile's brand of idealism asserted the primacy of the "pure act" of thinking. This act is foundational to all human experience – it creates the phenomenal world – and involves a process of "reflective awareness" (in Italian, "l'atto del pensiero, pensiero pensante") that is constitutive of the Absolute and revealed in education.[49] Gentile's emphasis on seeing Mind as the Absolute signalled his "revival of the idealist doctrine of the autonomy of the mind."[50] It also connected his philosophical work to his vocation as a teacher. In actual idealism, then, pedagogy is transcendental and provides the process by which the Absolute is revealed.[42] His idea of a transcending truth above positivism garnered particular attention by emphasizing that all modes of sensation only take the form of ideas within one's mind; in other words, they are mental constructs. To Gentile, for example, even the correlation of the function and location of the physical brain with the functions of the physical body was merely a consistent creation of the mind, and not of the brain (itself a creation of the mind). Observations like this have led some commentators to view Gentile's philosophy as a kind of "absolute solipsism," expressing the idea "that only the spirit or mind is real".[51]

Actual idealism also touches on ideas of concern to theology. An example of actual idealism in theology is the idea that although man may have invented the concept of God, it does not make God any less real in any possible sense, so long as God is not presupposed to exist as abstraction, and except in case qualities about what existence actually entails (i.e. being invented apart from the thinking that makes it) are presupposed. Benedetto Croce objected that Gentile's "pure act" is nothing other than Schopenhauer's will.[52]

Therefore, Gentile proposed a form of what he called "absolute Immanentism" in which the divine was the present conception of reality in the totality of one's individual thinking as an evolving, growing and dynamic process. Many times accused of solipsism, Gentile maintained his philosophy to be a Humanism that sensed the possibility of nothing beyond what was colligate in perception; the self's human thinking, in order to communicate as immanence is to be human like oneself, made a cohesive empathy of the self-same, without an external division, and therefore not modelled as objects to one's own thinking. Whereas solipsism would feel trapped in the realization of its solitude, actualism rejects such privation and is an expression of the only freedom which is possible within objective contingencies, where the transcendental Self does not even exist as an object, and the dialectical co-substantiation of others necessary to understand the empirical self is felt as true others when found to be the nonrelativistic subjectivity of that whole self and essentially unified with the spirit of such higher self in actu, where others can be truly known, rather than thought as windowless monads.

Phases of his thought


A number of developments in Gentile's thought and career helped to define his philosophy, including:

  • the definition of Actual Idealism in his work Theory of the Pure Act (1903);
  • his support for the invasion of Libya (1911) and the entry of Italy into World War I (1915);
  • his dispute with Benedetto Croce over the historic inevitability of Fascism;[53]
  • his role as minister of education (1922–24);
  • his belief that Fascism could be made subservient to his philosophical thought, along with his gathering of influence through the work of students like Armando Carlini (leader of the so-called "right Gentilians") and Ugo Spirito (who applied Gentile's philosophy to social problems and helped codify Fascist political theory); and
  • his work on the Enciclopedia Italiana (1925–43; first edition finished in 1936).

Gentile's definition of and vision for Fascism


Gentile considered Fascism the fulfilment of the Risorgimento ideals,[54] particularly those represented by Giuseppe Mazzini[55] and the Historical Right party.[56]

Gentile sought to make his philosophy the basis for Fascism.[57] However, with Gentile and with Fascism, the "problem of the party" existed by virtue of the fact that the Fascist "party", as such, arose organically rather than from a tract or pre-established socio-political doctrine. This complicated the matter for Gentile as it left no consensus to any way of thinking among Fascists, but ironically this aspect was to Gentile's view of how a state or party doctrine should live out its existence: with natural organic growth and dialectical opposition intact. The fact that Mussolini gave credence to Gentile's viewpoints via Gentile's authorship helped with an official consideration, even though the "problem of the party" continued to exist for Mussolini as well.

Gentile placed himself within the Hegelian tradition, but also sought to distance himself from those views he considered erroneous. He criticized Hegel's dialectic (of Idea-Nature-Spirit), and instead proposed that everything is Spirit, with the dialectic residing in the pure act of thinking. Gentile believed Marx's conception of the dialectic to be the fundamental flaw of his application to system making. To the neo-Hegelian Gentile, Marx had made the dialectic into an external object and therefore had abstracted it by making it part of a material process of historical development. The dialectic to Gentile could only be something of human precepts, something that is an active part of human thinking. It was, to Gentile, a concrete subject and not abstract object. This Gentile expounded on how humans think in forms wherein one side of a dual opposite could not be thought of without its complement.

"Upward" wouldn't be known without "downward" and "heat" couldn't be known without "cold", while each are opposites they are co-dependent for either one's realization: these were creations that existed as dialectic only in human thinking and couldn't be confirmed outside of which, and especially could not be said to exist in a condition external to human thought like independent matter and a world outside of personal subjectivity or as an empirical reality when not conceived in unity and from the standpoint of the human mind.

To Gentile, Marx's externalizing of the dialectic was essentially a fetishistic mysticism. Though when viewed externally thus, it followed that Marx could then make claims to the effect of what state or condition the dialectic objectively existed in history, a posteriori of where any individual's opinion was while comporting oneself to the totalized whole of society. i.e. people themselves could by such a view be ideologically 'backwards' and left behind from the current state of the dialectic and not themselves be part of what is actively creating the dialectic as-it-is.

Gentile thought this was absurd, and that there was no 'positive' independently existing dialectical object. Rather, the dialectic was natural to the state, as-it-is. Meaning that the interests composing the state are composing the dialectic by their living organic process of holding oppositional views within that state, and unified therein. It is the mean condition of those interests as ever they exist. Even criminality is unified as a necessary dialectic to be subsumed into the state and a creation and natural outlet of the dialectic of the positive state as ever it is.

This view (influenced by the Hegelian theory of the state) justified the corporative system, where in the individualized and particular interests of all divergent groups were to be personably incorporated into the state ("Stato etico") each to be considered a bureaucratic branch of the state itself and given official leverage. Gentile, rather than believing the private to be swallowed synthetically within the public as Marx would have it in his objective dialectic, believed that public and private were a priori identified with each other in an active and subjective dialectic: one could not be subsumed fully into the other as they already are beforehand the same. In such a manner each is the other after their own fashion and from their respective, relative, and reciprocal, position. Yet both constitute the state itself and neither are free from it, nothing ever being truly free from it, the state (as in Hegel) existing as an eternal condition and not an objective, abstract collection of atomistic values and facts of the particulars about what is positively governing the people at any given time.


  • On the Comedies of Antonfranceso Grazzi, "Il Lasca" (1896)
  • A Criticism of Historical Materialism (1897)
  • Rosmini and Gioberti (1898)
  • The Philosophy of Marx (1899)
  • The Concept of History (1899)
  • The teaching of philosophy in high schools (1900)
  • The scientific concept of pedagogy (1900)
  • On the Life and Writings of B. Spaventa (1900)
  • Hegelian Controversy (1902)
  • Secondary school unit and freedom of studies (1902)
  • Philosophy and Empiricism (1902)
  • The Rebirth of Idealism (1903)
  • From Genovesi to Galluppi (1903)
  • Studies on the Roman Stoicism of the 1st century BC (1904)
  • High School Reforms (1905)
  • The Son of G. B. Vico (1905)
  • The Reform of the Middle School (1906)
  • The various editions of T. Campanella 's De sensu rerum (1906)
  • Giordano Bruno in the History of Culture (1907)
  • The first process of heresy of T. Campanella (1907)
  • Vincenzo Gioberti in the first centenary of his birth (1907)
  • The Concept of the History of Philosophy (1908)
  • School and Philosophy (1908)
  • Modernism and the Relationship between Religion and Philosophy (1909)
  • Bernardino Telesio (1911)
  • The Theory of Mind as Pure Act (1912)
  • The Philosophical Library of Palermo (1912)
  • On Current Idealism: Memories and Confessions (1913)
  • The Problems of Schooling and Italian Thought (1913)
  • Reform of Hegelian Dialectics (1913)
  • Summary of Pedagogy as a Philosophical Science (1913)
  • The wrongs and the rights of positivism (1914)
  • The Philosophy of War (1914)
  • Pascuale Galluppi, a Jacobine? (1914)
  • Writings of life and ideas by V. Gioberti (1915)
  • Donato Jaja (1915)
  • The Bible of the Letters in Print by V. Gioberti (1915)
  • Vichian Studies (1915)
  • Pure experience and historical reality (1915)
  • For the Reform of Philosophical Insights (1916)
  • The concept of man in the Renaissance (1916)
  • The Foundations of the Philosophy of Law (1916)
  • General theory of the spirit as pure act (1916)
  • The origins of contemporary philosophy in Italy (1917)
  • System of logic as theory of knowledge (1917)
  • The historical character of Italian philosophy (1918)
  • Is there an Italian school? (1918)
  • Marxism of Benedict Croce (1918)
  • The sunset of Sicilian culture (1919)
  • Mazzini (1919)
  • The political realism of V. Gioberti (1919)
  • War and Faith (1919)
  • After the Victory (1920)
  • The post-war school problem (1920)
  • Reform of Education (1920)
  • Discourses of Religion (1920)
  • Giordano Bruno and the Thought of the Renaissance (1920)
  • Art and Religion (1920)
  • Bertrando Spaventa (1920)
  • Defense of Philosophy (1920)
  • History of the Piedmontese culture of the 2nd half of the 16th century (1921)
  • Fragments of Aesthetics and Literature (1921)
  • Glimmers of the New Italy (1921)
  • Education and the secular school (1921)
  • Critical Essays (1921)
  • The Philosophy of Dante (1921)
  • The modern concept of science and the university problem (1921)
  • G. Capponi and the Tuscan culture of the 20th century (1922)
  • Studies on the Renaissance (1923)
  • Dante and Manzoni, an essay on Art and Religion (1923)
  • The Prophets of the Italian Risorgimento (1923)
  • On the Logic of the Concrete (1924)
  • Preliminaries in the Study of the Child (1924)
  • School Reform (1924)
  • Fascism and Sicily (1924)
  • Fascism to the Government of the School (1924)
  • What is fascism (1925) -- Translated into English from the Italian (Che cosa è il fascismo). Sunny Lou Publishing Company, ISBN 978-1-95539-236-5, 2023)
  • The New Middle School (1925)
  • Current Warnings (1926)
  • Fragments of History of Philosophy (1926)
  • Critical Essays (1926)
  • The Legacy of Vittorio Alfieri (1926)
  • Fascist Culture (1926)
  • The religious problem in Italy (1927)
  • Italian thought of the nineteenth century (1928)
  • Fascism and Culture (1928)
  • The Philosophy of Fascism (1928)
  • The Great Council's Law (1928)
  • Manzoni and Leopardi (1929)
  • Origins and Doctrine of Fascism (1929)
  • The philosophy of art (1931)
  • The Reform of the School in Italy (1932)
  • Introduction to Philosophy (1933)
  • The Woman and the Child (1934)
  • Origins and Doctrine of Fascism (1934)
  • Economics and Ethics (1934)
  • Leonardo da Vinci (Gentile was one of the contributors, 1935)

Collected works


Systematic works

  • I–II. Summary of pedagogy as a philosophical science (Vol. I: General pedagogy; vol. II: Teaching).
  • III. The general theory of the spirit as pure act.
  • IV. The foundations of the philosophy of law.
  • V–VI. The System of Logic as Theory of Knowledge (Vol. 2).
  • VII. Reform of education.
  • VIII. The philosophy of art.
  • IX. Genesis and structure of society.

Historical works

  • X. History of philosophy. From the origins to Plato.
  • XI. History of Italian philosophy (up to Lorenzo Valla).
  • XII. The Problems of Schooling and Italian Thinking.
  • XIII. Studies on Dante.
  • XIV The Italian thought of the Renaissance.
  • XV. Studies on the Renaissance.
  • XVI. Vichian Studies.
  • XVII. The legacy of Vittorio Alfieri.
  • XVIII–XIX. History of Italian philosophy from Genovesi to Galluppi (vol.2).
  • XXXXI. Albori of the new Italy (vol.2).
  • XXII. Vincenzo Cook. Studies and notes.
  • XXIII. Gino Capponi and Tuscan culture in the decimony of the century.
  • XXIV. Manzoni and Leopardi.
  • XXV. Rosmini and Gioberti.
  • XXVI. The prophets of the Italian Risorgimento.
  • XXVII. Reform of Hegelian Dialectics.
  • XXVIII. Marx's philosophy.
  • XXIX. Bertrando Spaventa.
  • XXX. The sunset of the Sicilian culture.
  • XXXI-XXXIV. The origins of contemporary philosophy in Italy. (Vol. I: Platonists, Vol II: Positivists, Vol III and IV: Neo-Kantians and Hegelians).
  • XXXV. Modernism and the relationship between religion and philosophy.

Various works

  • XXXVI. Introduction to philosophy.
  • XXXVII. Religious Speeches.
  • XXXVIII. Defense of philosophy.
  • XXXIX. Education and lay school.
  • XL. The new middle school.
  • XLI. School Reform in Italy.
  • XLII. Preliminaries in the study of the child.
  • XLIII. War and Faith.
  • XLIV. After the win.
  • XLV-XLVI. Politics and Culture (Vol. 2).

Letter collections

  • I–II. Letter from Gentile-Jaja (Vol. 2)
  • III–VII. Letters to Benedetto Croce (Vol. 5)
  • VIII. Letter from Gentile-D'Ancona
  • IX. Letter from Gentile-Omodeo
  • X. Letter from Gentile-Maturi
  • XI. Letter from Gentile-Pintor
  • XII. Letter from Gentile-Chiavacci
  • XIII. Letter from Gentile-Calogero
  • XIV. Letter from Gentile-Donati


  1. ^ a b Gregor, 2001, p. 1.
  2. ^ Gentile's so-called method of immanence "attempted to avoid: (1) the postulate of an independently existing world or a Kantian Ding-an-sich (thing-in-itself), and (2) the tendency of neo-Hegelian philosophy to lose the particular self in an Absolute that amounts to a kind of mystical reality without distinctions" (M. E. Moss, Mussolini's Fascist Philosopher: Giovanni Gentile Reconsidered, Peter Lang, p. 7).
  3. ^ Forster, Michael N.; Gjesdal, Kristin (5 February 2015). The Oxford Handbook of German Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century. OUP Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-106552-1.
  4. ^ James Wakefield, Giovanni Gentile and the State of Contemporary Constructivism: A Study of Actual Idealist Moral Theory, Andrews UK Limited, 2015, note 53.
  5. ^ Giovanni Gentile, Le ragioni del mio ateismo e la storia del cristianesimo, Giornale critico della filosofia italiana, n. 3, 1922, pp. 325–28.
  6. ^ Gentile, Giovanni (1899). Rosmini e Gioberti (in Italian). Vol. 1 vol. Pisa. pp. XII, 318. OCLC 551630913. Retrieved 10 May 2021.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) (WorldCat record)
  7. ^ Gregor, A. James (2007). Giovanni Gentile: philosopher of fascism (4 ed.). New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-7658-0593-5.
  8. ^ Harris, H. S. (1960). The Social Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile. Urbana, London: University of Illinois Press. pp. 221–222. ISBN 9780252745201.
  9. ^ Harris, H. S. (1960). The Social Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile. Urbana, London: University of Illinois Press. p. 131. ISBN 9780252745201.
  10. ^ Harris, H. S. (1960). The Social Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile. Urbana, London: University of Illinois Press. pp. 131, 135. ISBN 9780252745201.
  11. ^ Gentile, Emilio (2009). La Grande Italia: the myth of the nation in the twentieth century. George L. Mosse series in modern European cultural and intellectual history. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 128–129. ISBN 978-0-299-22810-1.
  12. ^ Harris, H. S. (1960). The Social Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile. Urbana, London: University of Illinois Press. pp. 133–134. ISBN 9780252745201.
  13. ^ Harris, H. S. (1960). The Social Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile. Urbana, London: University of Illinois Press. pp. 137–139. ISBN 9780252745201.
  14. ^ Harris, H. S. (1960). The Social Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile. Urbana, London: University of Illinois Press. pp. 147–148. ISBN 9780252745201.
  15. ^ Harris, H. S. (1960). The Social Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile. Urbana, London: University of Illinois Press. p. 148. ISBN 9780252745201.
  16. ^ Ledeen, Michael Arthur (1977). The First Duce: D'Annunzio at Fiume. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. vii–viii. ISBN 978-0-8018-1860-8.
  17. ^ Harris, H. S. (1960). The Social Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile. Urbana, London: University of Illinois Press. p. 149. ISBN 9780252745201.
  18. ^ Harris, H. S. (1960). The Social Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile. Urbana, London: University of Illinois Press. pp. 153–154. ISBN 9780252745201.
  19. ^ Sternhell, Zeev; Sznajder, Mario; Ashéri, Maia (1994). The Birth of Fascist Ideology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 229. ISBN 978-0-691-04486-6.
  20. ^ Smith, Denis Mack (1973). "Benedetto Croce: History and Politics". The Historical Journal. 8 (1): 41–61. JSTOR 260068.
  21. ^ Seton-Watson, Christopher (1967). Italy from Liberalism to Fascism (1 ed.). Frome; London: Routledge. p. 630. ISBN 9781032737188.
  22. ^ Clark, Martin (2008). Modern Italy, 1871 to the present (3 ed.). Harlow: Pearson Longman. p. 266. ISBN 978-1-4058-2352-4.
  23. ^ Harris, H. S. (1960). The Social Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile. Urbana, London: University of Illinois Press. p. 218. ISBN 9780252745201.
  24. ^ Harris, H. S. (1960). The Social Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile. Urbana, London: University of Illinois Press. pp. 66–67. ISBN 9780252745201.
  25. ^ a b c Wolff, Richard J. (1980). "Catholicism, Fascism and Italian Education from the Riforma Gentile to the Carta Della Scuola 1922-1939". History of Education Quarterly. 20 (1): 3-26. doi:10.2307/367888.
  26. ^ De Grand, Alexander J. (2000). Italian fascism: its origins & development (3 ed.). Lincoln ; London: University of Nebraska Press. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-8032-6622-3.
  27. ^ De Grand, Alexander J. (2000). Italian fascism: its origins & development (3 ed.). Lincoln ; London: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 150–151. ISBN 978-0-8032-6622-3.
  28. ^ De Grand, Alexander J. (2000). Italian fascism: its origins & development (3 ed.). Lincoln ; London: University of Nebraska Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-8032-6622-3.
  29. ^ Seton-Watson, Christopher (1967). Italy from Liberalism to Fascism (1 ed.). Frome; London: Routledge. p. 633. ISBN 9781032737188.
  30. ^ De Grand, Alexander J. (2000). Italian fascism: its origins & development (3 ed.). Lincoln ; London: University of Nebraska Press. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-8032-6622-3.
  31. ^ De Grand, Alexander (1976). "Women under Italian Fascism". The Historical Journal. 19 (4): 947–68. doi:10.1017/S0018246X76000011. JSTOR 2638244.
  32. ^ Clark, Martin (2008). Modern Italy, 1871 to the present (3 ed.). Harlow: Pearson Longman. p. 331. ISBN 978-1-4058-2352-4.
  33. ^ Clark, Martin (2008). Modern Italy, 1871 to the present (3 ed.). Harlow: Pearson Longman. p. 332. ISBN 978-1-4058-2352-4.
  34. ^ De Grand, Alexander J. (2000). Italian fascism: its origins & development (3 ed.). Lincoln ; London: University of Nebraska Press. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-8032-6622-3.
  35. ^ De Grand, Alexander J. (2000). Italian fascism: its origins & development (3 ed.). Lincoln ; London: University of Nebraska Press. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-8032-6622-3.
  36. ^ Clark, Martin (2008). Modern Italy, 1871 to the Present (3 ed.). Harlow, England ; New York: Pearson Education. p. 333. ISBN 978-1-4058-2352-4. OCLC 163594143.
  37. ^ Seton-Watson, Christopher (1967). Italy from Liberalism to Fascism (1 ed.). Frome; London: Routledge. p. 651. ISBN 9781032737188.
  38. ^ a b Turi, Gabriele (1998). "Giovanni Gentile: Oblivion, Remembrance, and Criticism". The Journal of Modern History. 70 (4): 913–933. doi:10.1086/235171. ISSN 0022-2801. JSTOR 10.1086/235171. S2CID 143276729.
  39. ^ Gregor, A. James (2007). Giovanni Gentile: philosopher of fascism (4 ed.). New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-7658-0593-5.
  40. ^ "The first half of the article was the work of Giovanni Gentile; only the second half was Mussolini's own work, though the whole article appeared under his name." Adrian Lyttelton, Italian Fascisms: from Pareto to Gentile, 13.
  41. ^ Denis Mack Smith, Modern Italy: A Political History, 1997, pp. 357
  42. ^ a b "Giovanni Gentile | Italian philosopher". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  43. ^ Turi, Gabriele (1995). Giovanni Gentile. Una biografia. Florence: Giunti Editore. ISBN 88-09-20755-6.
  44. ^ "L'assassinio di Gentile - Vita e morte di Giovanni Gentile". Archived from the original on 21 April 2014.
  45. ^ "E dopo 70 anni nuovi scenari dietro l'esecuzione di Gentile - la Repubblica.it". La Repubblica (in Italian). 24 April 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  46. ^ "Giovanni Gentile". Italy On This Day. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  47. ^ Benedetto Croce, Guide to Aesthetics, Translated by Patrick Romanell, "Translator's Introduction," The Library of Liberal Arts, The Bobbs–Merrill Co., Inc., 1965
  48. ^ Mussolini – THE DOCTRINE OF FASCISM. Retrieved 21 December 2016. {{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)
  49. ^ Harris, H.S. (1967). "Gentile, Giovanni (1875-1944)". In Gale, Thomas (ed.). Encyclopedia of Philosophy – via Encyclopedia.com.
  50. ^ "Giovanni Gentile". Encyclopedia of World Biography. The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 – via Encyclopedia.com.
  51. ^ Gentile, Giovanni (1 January 2008). The Theory of Mind as Pure Act. Living Time Press. ISBN 9781905820375.
  52. ^ Runes, Dagobert, editor, Treasure of Philosophy, "Gentile, Giovanni".
  53. ^ "Croce and Gentile," The Living Age, 19 September 1925.
  54. ^ From Myth to Reality and Back Again: The Fascist and Post-Fascist Reading of Garibaldi and the Risorgimento
  55. ^ M. E. Moss (2004) Mussolini's Fascist Philosopher: Giovanni Gentile Reconsidered; New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.; p. 58-60
  56. ^ Guerraggio, Angelo; Nastasi, Pietro (20 January 2006). Italian Mathematics Between the Two World Wars. Springer. ISBN 9783764375126.
  57. ^ The Philosophical Basis of Fascism By Sir Giovanni Gentile.


  • A. James Gregor, Giovanni Gentile: Philosopher of Fascism. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2001.

Further reading



  • Brown, Merle E. (1966). Neo-idealistic Aesthetics: Croce-Gentile-Collingwood, Wayne State University Press.
  • Brown, Merle E., "Respice Finem: The Literary Criticism of Giovanni Gentile," in Italica, Vol. 47, No. 1 (Spring, 1970).
  • Crespi, Angelo (1926). Contemporary Thought of Italy, Williams and Norgate, Limited.
  • De Ruggiero, Guido, "G. Gentile: Absolute Idealism." in Modern Philosophy, Part IV, Chap. III, (George Allen & Unwin, 1921).
  • Evans, Valmai Burwood, "The Ethics of Giovanni Gentile," in International Journal of Ethics, Vol. 39, No. 2 (Jan. 1929).
  • Evans, Valmai Burwood, "Education in the Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile," in International Journal of Ethics, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Jan. 1933).
  • Gregor, James A., "Giovanni Gentile and the Philosophy of the Young Karl Marx," in Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 24, No. 2 (April–June 1963).
  • Gregor, James A. (2004). Origins and Doctrine of Fascism: With Selections from Other Works by Giovanni Gentile. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers
  • Gregor, James A. (2009). Mussolini's Intellectuals: Fascist Social and Political Thought, Princeton University Press.
  • Gullace, Giovanni, "The Dante Studies of Giovanni Gentile," Dante Studies, with the Annual Report of the Dante Society, No. 90 (1972).
  • Harris, H. S. (1966). The Social Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile, U. of Illinois Press.
  • Holmes, Roger W. (1937). The Idealism of Giovanni Gentile The Macmillan Company.
  • Horowitz, Irving Louis, "On the Social Theories of Giovanni Gentile," in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Dec. 1962).
  • Lion, Aline (1932). The Idealistic Conception of Religion; Vico, Hegel, Gentile, Oxford: The Clarendon Press.
  • Lyttleton, Adrian, ed. (1973). Italian Fascisms: From Pareto to Gentile, Harper & Row.
  • Minio-Paluello, L. (1946). Education in Fascist Italy, Oxford University Press.
  • Moss, M. E. (2004). Mussolini's Fascist Philosopher: Giovanni Gentile Reconsidered, Lang.
  • Roberts, David D. (2007). Historicism and Fascism in Modern Italy, University of Toronto Press.
  • Romanell, Patrick (1937). The Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile, Columbia University.
  • Romanell, Patrick (1946). Croce versus Gentile, S. F. Vanni.
  • Runes, Dagobert D., ed. (1955). Treasury of Philosophy, Philosophical Library, New York.
  • Santillana, George de, "The Idealism of Giovanni Gentile," in Isis, Vol. 29, No. 2 (Nov. 1938).
  • Smith, J.A. "The Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, New Series, Vol. 20, (1919–1920).
  • Smith, William A. (1970). Giovanni Gentile on the Existence of God, Beatrice-Naewolaerts.
  • Spirito, Ugo, "The Religious Feeling of Giovanni Gentile," in East and West, Vol. 5, No. 2 (July 1954).
  • Thompson, Merritt Moore (1934). The Educational Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile, University of Southern California.
  • Turi, Gabrielle, "Giovanni Gentile: Oblivion, Remembrance, and Criticism," in The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 70, No. 4 (December 1998).

In Italian

  • Giovanni Gentile (Augusto Del Noce, Bologna: Il Mulino, 1990)
  • Giovanni Gentile filosofo europeo (Salvatore Natoli, Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 1989)
  • Giovanni Gentile (Antimo Negri, Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1975)
  • Faremo una grande università: Girolamo Palazzina-Giovanni Gentile; Un epistolario (1930–1938), a cura di Marzio Achille Romano (Milano: Edizioni Giuridiche Economiche Aziendali dell'Università Bocconi e Giuffré editori S.p.A., 1999)
  • Parlato, Giuseppe. "Giovanni Gentile: From the Risorgimento to Fascism." Trans. Stefano Maranzana. Telos 133 (Winter 2005): pp. 75–94.
  • Antonio Cammarana, Proposizioni sulla filosofia di Giovanni Gentile, prefazione del Sen. Armando Plebe, Roma, Gruppo parliamentare MSI-DN, Senato della Repubblica, 1975, 157 Pagine, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze BN 758951.
  • Antonio Cammarana, Teorica della reazione dialettica : filosofia del postcomunismo, Roma, Gruppo parliamentare MSI-DN, Senato della Repubblica, 1976, 109 Pagine, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze BN 775492.