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Vico and Literature [Johnny]

Giambattista Vico - Lucian of Samosata Wiki

I'm sensing a pattern. The authors this semester seem to take much longer to get to the point where their works intersect with the purview of our course. Thus, I had to read this one twice once I reached the ending and figured out what I think we're supposed to glean from this reading. So, I'll state here what I think is the gist of New Science, or at least in view of how it relates to our course:

Poetry (and all literature) have formed, and by extension continue to form, society's beliefs and standards.

Vico arrives at these conclusions through a roundabout argument that I find rather fascinating. To Vico, everything works in groups of three. There are three ages: the god age, the hero age, and the man age. For these three ages, there are three languages that imply three civilizations: the cultureless age, the idolization of hero age, and the modern age. These three ages correspond with three specific language types. However, the important aspect of this grouping lies in the connection of language (and in extension, rhetoric) to culture.

Language makes itself physical reality through stories and poetry. Language is an incorporeal, ethereal concept until it is brought to life through expression.

Vico goes on to describe the building of language throughout history. The information is bulky and long. I'll mimic the screenwriters for the film adaptation of Christopher Paolini's Eragon and gloss over the entire middle section.

In summary, Vico describes how pagan society's advancement is intrinsically linked to its heroes and stories. This gives it a new purpose: literature is meant to shape society and form it into a better, more advanced society.

On to Kant!!!

fighting.for.forever. “Vico and Literature [Johnny].” 01/30/13. <>

vico/literary-criticism-and-theory-vico4.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/14 23:20 (external edit)