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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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Discovery of the True Homer

Discovery of the True Homer

(p.181) Chapter 16 Discovery of the True Homer
Vico's "New Science"

Donald Phillip Verene

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the section on the discovery of the true Homer in Book 3 of the New Science. In his introduction of this section, Giambattista Vico asserts that Homer as an individual author did not exist and that the Trojan War that he describes never occurred. Although the ancient Greeks considered the Homeric poems to be relations of historical events, modern critics agree with Vico. This chapter considers Vico’s argument that calling Homer a “heroic character” implies that Homer himself is a “poetic character” as are the heroic characters of his poems. It also discusses Vico’s claim that Homer composed the Iliad in his youth and the Odyssey in his old age, along with his interpretation of Homer’s epic poems and its implications for the origins of dramatic and lyric poetry.

Keywords:   lyric poetry, Homer, New Science, Giambattista Vico, Trojan War, epic poems, Iliad, Odyssey

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