Mario Mirri describes the peculiar features of each protagonist, although referring also to a generational experience, and highlights the ethical issues leading to an antifascist choice. It clearly appears the ideological attraction towards the PCI (Italian Communist Party) led by Togliatti and the version of Marxism supported by Gramsci, is clearly underlined, in connection with the climate prevailing in the Normale School led by Luigi Russo. According to Mirri, the main objective envisaged by the quartet was simply «di portare in primo piano il ruolo della cultura, e di conseguenza, le responsabilità dell’uomo di cultura» ("to bring to the fore the role of culture and, consequently, the responsibility of the educated man"). Two topics are consistently pursued: the autonomy of historical-philological research and the need to recognise the primacy of ethics, beyond any political calculation of power.
Keywords: Culture, ethics, Mario Mirri, Scuola Normale, Palmiro Togliatti, PCI, philology.