In a section entitled ‘Questions of Method’ in one of the prison notebooks dedicated to cultural problems, Notebook 16, Gramsci discusses methodological approaches to vast bodies of work of specific thinkers. I loosely paraphrase the argument. Some texts, so goes Gramsci’s contention, do not offer systematic explanations as to the specific perspective or conception of the world of their respective author. If that is the case, the essential coherence of the author’s world-view should not be sought in each individual text or in a series of texts but rather in the development of that entire body ofwork with all its various aspects, in which the elements ofthat conception tend to be implicit. And moreover, Gramsci argues that if a critic is out to study the beginnings or the genetic trajectory of that world-view, it would be wise to begin with preliminary work: with minute and detailed philological exegesis, undertaken with greatest care and to high standards of accuracy, with scientific integrity, and without partiality, preconceptions, prejudices and apriorisms. What critical work should seek in a text is not casual and individual affirmations, or disconnected aphorisms, but rather leitmotifs, the rhythms, the dynamics of thinking in motion, of specific texts. And there are many other suggestions, at times tending towards the pedantic, which Gramsci offers here as to how methodologically to approach a vast body of knowledge attributed to a single author.’