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Vico's "New Science"A Philosophical Commentary$
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Donald Phillip Verene

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781501700163

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501700163.001.0001

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Search for the True Homer

Search for the True Homer

(p.172) Chapter 15 Search for the True Homer
Vico's "New Science"

Donald Phillip Verene

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the role of Homer in Giambattista Vico’s doctrine of poetic wisdom and ideal eternal history, which he articulated in Book 3 of the New Science. The idea of the true Homer implies a false Homer from which the true Homer can be distinguished. There are two senses in which Homer is falsely conceived. According to Vico, it is false that there was a single author who wrote either or both the Iliad and the Odyssey. He also argues that these works attributed to Homer do not contain an esoteric wisdom, that is, that Homer was not a philosopher. This chapter considers the question of what is to be the positive doctrine of the relation between poetry and philosophy. It also discusses Vico’s arguments regarding the connection between memory and imagination.

Keywords:   memory, Homer, Giambattista Vico, poetic wisdom, ideal eternal history, New Science, Iliad, Odyssey, poetry, philosophy

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