Authors: Benedetto Croce

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Italian philosopher and critic

Author Works


I teatri di Napoli dal Rinascimento alla fine del secolo decimottavo, 1891

La rivoluzione napoletana del 1799, 1899

Materialismo storico ed economia marxistica, 1900 (Historical Materialism and the Economics of Karl Marx, 1914)

Estetica come scienza dell’espressione e linguistica generale, 1902 (Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic, 1909)

Ciò che è vivo e ciò che è morto della filosofia di Hegel, 1907 (What Is Living and What Is Dead of the Philosophy of Hegel, 1915)

Filosofia della pratica: Economica ed etica, 1909 (Philosophy of the Practical: Economic and Ethic, 1913)

Logica come scienza del concetto puro, 1909 (Logic as the Science of the Pure Concept, 1917)

Problemi di estetica e contributi alla storia dell’estetica italiana, 1910

La filosofia di Giambattista Vico, 1911 (The Philosophy of Giambattista Vico, 1913)

Saggi sulla letteratura italiana nel seicento, 1911

Breviario di estetica, 1913 (The Breviary of Aesthetic, 1915)

Cultura e vita morale, 1914

La letteratura della nuova Italia, 1914-1940 (6 volumes)

Teoria e storia della storiografia, 1917 (Theory and History of Historiography, 1921)

Contributo alla critica di me stesso, 1918 (An Autobiography, 1927)

Conversazioni critiche, 1918-1951 (5 volumes)

Goethe, 1919 (English translation, 1923)

Ariosto, Shakespeare, e Corneille, 1920 (Ariosto, Shakespeare, and Corneille, 1920)

Nuovi saggi di estetica, 1920

La poesia di Dante, 1921 (The Poetry of Dante, 1922)

Storia della storiografia italiana del secolo decimonono, 1921 (2 volumes)

Frammenti di etica, 1922 (The Conduct of Life, 1924)

Poesia e non poesia, 1923 (European Literature in the Nineteenth Century, 1924)

Storia del Regno di Napoli, 1925 (History of the Kingdom of Naples, 1970)

Elementi di politica, 1925 (Politics and Morals, 1945)

Storia d’Italia dal 1871 al 1915, 1928 (A History of Italy, 1871-1915, 1929)

Storia dell’età barocca in Italia, 1929

Etica e politica, 1931 (includes The Conduct of Life, Politics and Morals, and An Autobiography)

Nuovi saggi sulla letteratura italiana del seicento, 1931

Storia d’Europa nel secolo decimonono, 1932 (History of Europe in the Nineteenth Century, 1933)

Poesia popolare e poesia d’arte, 1933

Varietà di storia letteraria e civile, 1933-1949 (2 volumes)

Ultimi saggi, 1935

La poesia: Introduzione alla critica e storia della poesia e della letteratura, 1936 (Poetry and Literature: An Introduction to Its Criticism and History, 1981)

La storia come pensiero e come azione, 1938 (History as the Story of Liberty, 1941)

Poesia antica e moderna, 1941

Discorsi di varia filosofia, 1945 (2 volumes)

Poeti e scrittori del pieno e del tardo Rinascimento, 1945-1952 (3 volumes)

Pensiero politico e politica attuale, 1946

Quando l’Italia era tagliata in due, 1948 (Croce, the King, and the Allies, 1950)

Filosofia e storiografia, 1949

La letteratura italiana del settecento: Note critiche, 1949

Letture di poeti e riflessioni sulla teoria e la critica della poesia, 1950

Filosofia, poesia, storia, 1951 (Philosophy, Poetry, History: An Anthology of Essays, 1966)

Indagini su Hegel e schiarimenti filosofici, 1952

Aneddoti di varia letteratura, 1953 (4 volumes)


Benedetto Croce (KROH-chay) was a philosopher and literary critic whose influence on modern thought is still being assessed. During World War II he was the outstanding spokesperson for individual freedom and the center of intellectual resistance to Fascism. For forty-two years his journal, La Critica, covered every important development in twentieth century thought. His philosophic and critical work is vast, amounting to more than seventy volumes.{$I[AN]9810000580}{$I[A]Croce, Benedetto}{$I[geo]ITALY;Croce, Benedetto}{$I[tim]1866;Croce, Benedetto}

Benedetto Croce

(Library of Congress)

Croce was the son of a wealthy landowner and a highly cultured woman who encouraged her son’s passion for books. He attended a Catholic boarding school patronized chiefly by aristocrats. There he took all the prizes and began writing critical essays. While at school, he examined his faith and gradually came to recognize that he was done with religious beliefs. In 1883 he lost his parents and sister in an earthquake and suffered serious injuries himself. This tragedy almost broke Croce’s spirit. He went to live in Rome, where his study of the relationship of art to history revived his interest in living.

After his recovery he traveled throughout Europe, gathering material for a history of art and other publications that gained him public acclaim. In 1895 he read the works of Karl Marx, which, he said, caused his whole mind to burst into flame; he began to study economics intensively and to write voluminously. In 1900 he began his Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic, published in 1902, in which he stated his most important theory, called Organic Unity: the idea that there is no distinction between matter and form.

In 1903 he began publishing La Critica with Giovanni Gentile. In editing the journal collaboratively, Gentile was responsible for the history of philosophy, Croce for the history of literature. In 1910 he was made a senator, a lifetime appointment, and in 1914 he married Adele Rossi, with whom he had four daughters. He opposed Italy’s entering World War I, and he criticized national propaganda. After the war he served briefly as minister of education.

When Benito Mussolini came into power in 1922, Croce favored him, hoping he would bring strength and stability to government. Mussolini borrowed many of Croce’s ideas, such as the autonomy of politics, the relativity of values, and the necessity for a ruling class. However, Croce soon turned from Mussolini to the opposition and led the Liberal Party. Thereafter his books were banned, he was excluded from the Senate, his home was raided, and many of his closest associates were jailed.

During World War II, he continued to develop and enlarge the scope of his theories, one being that liberty is the eternal creature of history so that the development of liberty is forever incomplete. Socialism and communism were both as antipathetic as fascism to this concept. After World War II, Croce’s tenure as minister of education was renewed, and he joined in an unsuccessful attempt to save the monarchy by making the prince of Naples king under a regent.

In 1944 La Critica ended publication, but Croce continued to publish irregularly a periodical called Quaderni della Critica. At the age of eighty he opened a postgraduate school of historical studies in his home, occasionally giving lectures to the students. In February, 1950, he suffered a stroke; with his customary stoic acceptance, he continued to read and dictate until his death in November, 1952.

BibliographyCasale, Giuseppe. Benedetto Croce Between Naples and Europe. New York: Peter Lang, 1993. The author argues that Croce sought to offer through his concept of historicism, an alternative to both traditional religion and the culture of science. He places Croce’s ideas within the context of both Neapolitan and European culture.Moss, M. E. Benedetto Croce Reconsidered: Truth and Error in Theories of Art, Literature, and History. Foreword by Maurice Mandelbaum. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1987. Arguing for Croce’s continuing philosophical significance, the author addresses his philosophical conceptions of truth, error, and objectivity and analyzes his theory of intuition.Roberts, David D. Benedetto Croce and the Uses of Historicism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987. This critical reassessment is the best intellectual biography of Croce available in English. The author includes an impressive bibliography, covering major themes of modern European intellectual history.Ryn, Claes G. Will, Imagination, and Reason: Babbitt, Croce, and the Problem of Reality. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 1997. A good assessment of Croce’s thought.Ward, David. Antifascisms: Cultural Politics in Italy, 1943-46: Benedetto Croce and the Liberals, Carlo Levi and the “Actionists.” Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996. A valuable treatment of Croce’s political philosophy.
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