Knowledge of Things Human and Divine: Vico's New Science and Finnegan's Wake by Donald Phillip Verene (Yale University Press) is the first book to examine rather extensively the interconnections between 's New Science and James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. Maintaining that Joyce is the greatest modern "interpreter" of Vico, Donald Phillip Verene demonstrates how images from Joyce's work offer keys to Vico's philosophy. More a general introduction to the enterprise of Vico, Verene presents the entire course of Vico's philosophical thought as it develops in his major works, with Joyce's words and insights serving as commentator here and there. Knowledge of Things Human and Divine devotes a chapter to each period of Vico's thought, from his early orations on education to his anti-Cartesian metaphysics and his conception of universal law, culminating in his new science of the history of nations. Verene analyzes Vico's major works, including all three editions of the New Science. The volume also features a detailed chronology of the philosopher's career, historical illustrations related to his works, and an extensive bibliography of Vico scholarship and all English translations of his writings. Though tantalizingly suggestive of how the eminent, obscure and abstruse Wake might revitalize a poetics of human science, Verene is much more comfortable giving the main outlines of Vico's development and philosophy than in adumbrating just how adept Joyce's reversions are. Throughout the Wake, recyclings of Vico's work course in abundance, but course no longer in unremarked, cryptic puns, thanks to Verene's gleaning and showing. This book uses Joyce as a frame for Vichian hangings in a fashion that resembles Joyce's use of Vico; it's not for the sake of doctrine, but joy, that each informs on the other. Given that Verene is one of the most preeminent interpreters of the Neapolitan, the volume is a great general introduction to Vico. Clearly, Verene concerns himself more with clarification and contextualization of Vico's life and works than Joyce's (to which he devotes a single, hearty chapter), however this Vico book itself is strong and its author's ability to plop a pitch of Joyce for every single passage of Vico proves dazzling. A hazardously detailed chronology relates the major events in the life of Vico. The bibliography proves a heavy bias in favor of Vico work with scant nod given to scholars of Joyce. Recommended to all who are willing to learn more about Vico than Joyce and to all who are willing to traverse much Joyce to learn about Vico.
New Science: Principles of the New Science Concerning the Common Nature of Nations by Giambattista Vico, Introduction by Anthony Grafton, translated by David Marsh (Penguin Classics)
The New Science of Giambattista Vico by Giambattista Vico, translated by Thomas G. Bergin and Max H. Fisch (Cornell University Press) was the initial translation and retains its authority even if not its readability.
A bold new translation of a masterpiece of early
social science that has found enthusiasts among such artists and scholars as
James Joyce and Harold Bloom.
Although Vico lived his whole life as an obscure academic in Naples, his New Science is an astonishingly ambitious attempt to provide a comprehensive science of all human society by decoding the history, mythology, and law of the ancient world. It argues that the key to true understanding lies in accepting that the customs and emotional lives of the Greeks and Romans, Egyptians, Jews, and Babylonians were utterly different from our own. In examining these huge themes, Vico offers countless fresh insights into topics ranging from physics to politics, money to monsters, and family structures to the Flood. Deeply influential since the dawn of Romanticism, the New Science even inspired the framework for Joyce's Finnegans Wake. This powerful new translation makes it clear why this work marked a turning-point in humanist thinking as significant as Newton's contemporary revolution in physics.
REWORK That Vico is largely unknown, even by the so-called experts teaching in our universities, while mediocrities and worse of the past half century are lauded and taught widely is yet another indication that our educational standards are dumbed down considerably. Vico is difficult to read, and we are increasingly an intellectually lazy people who prefer simplistic platitudes that sooth our postmodernist prejudices.
I give this Penguin edition only a 4 not because New Science is not itself a
5 or because the translation itself is weak, but because Vico requires copious
notes. Most who read this work will do so on their own, and they need
considerable help unless they are already as well read in the Classics and works
of the Medieval and Renaissance eras as was Vico himself. Perhaps soon we will
see an edition that meets that need, which also might encourage a few more to
teach Vico, before we fall into the re-barbarism.
An eighteenth century alternative to a Cartesian hegemony of philosophic vision. Herein lies a pride of imaginative erudition and practice for the reader in allegorical and metaphorical thought--a poetic more than meets the mind. "Poetic Wisdom" offers a gamboling philological development of human institutions--all that is, explained. And this book has a chapter on "The Discovery of the True Homer." He was so much fun to look for and we are glad he's found. This edition has a detailed table of contents and an introduction by Anthony Grafton as a bonus for readers.
CONTENTSIntroduction Anthony Grafton
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