Philosopher, critic, historian and, for a while, even a politician, Benedetto Croce was a towering figure in Italian intellectual life in the first half of the twentieth century. Originally a proponent of philosophical idealism, he defended human creativity and the autonomy of artistic expression against the lure of social scientific “positivism”, refusing the reduction of history to a naturalistic paradigm and, in so doing, affirming a broadly liberal respect for individual freedom. At home, he inspired a generation of intellectuals such as, for example, the Marxist Antonio Gramsci, and later he came to be widely admired for his opposition to fascism. In Europe and America, Croce gained renown for his distinctive …

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Martin, James. "Benedetto Croce". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 January 2009
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