…[L]ife involves, before everything else, eating and drinking.

—Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology

Men think dream and act according to what they eat and drink.

—Filippo Marinetti, The Futurist Cookbook

Note: This article is adapted from a collection of essays about the socialist intellectual Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937) and disability. The leader of the Italian Communist Party, he was a political prisoner in Fascist Italy from 1926 until his death. His Prison Notebooks, which detail how structures of power are embedded in everyday life, are regarded as among the most important political texts of the twentieth century. Gramsci was short-statured and hunchbacked as the result of spinal tuberculosis, but the impact of his disability on his life and thinking has largely been ignored.

This article mixes fact with supposition. For instance, in a letter written from prison...

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