Classic Works on Vico in English

The following is a list of the major works on Vico in English.  For a complete list see Vico: A Bibliography of Works in English from 1884 to 1994.  Bowling Green, OH: Philosophy Documentation Center, 1994, and subsequent bibliography updates in New Vico Studies.

Three Critics of Enlightenment
Isaiah Berlin, Edited by Henry Hardy (Princeton University Press, 2000)

Three Critics of Enlightenment [From the Publisher] "Isaiah Berlin was deeply admired during his life, but his full contribution was perhaps underestimated because of his preference for the long essay form. The efforts of Henry Hardy to edit Berlin's work and reintroduce it to a broad, eager readership have gone far to remedy this. Now, Princeton is pleased to return to print, under one cover, Berlin's essays on Vico, Hamann, and Herder. These essays on three relatively uncelebrated thinkers are not marginal ruminations, but rather among Berlin's most important studies in the history of ideas."

Peter Burke (Oxford University Press, 1985)


Vico, Metaphor, and the Origin of Language
Marcel Danesi (Indiana University Press, 1993)

Vico [From Google Books] "The origin of language is one of the deep mysteries of human existence. Drawing upon the work of the eighteenth-century Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico, Marcel Danesi fashions a persuasive, original account of the evolution and development of language. Seeking to reconstruct the primitive mind that generated language and the evolutionary events that must have preceded the advent of speech, he takes Vico's insight that mind, culture, and language evolved from the uniquely human faculty known as fantasia ("the imagination") and sketches a "primal scene" of compelling interest."

Vico's Axioms: The Geometry of the Human World
James Goetsch Jr. (Yale University Press, 1995)


G. B. Vico: The Making of an Anit-Modern
Mark Lilla (Harvard University Press, 1994)

Vico [From Google Books] "The Italian scholar Giovanni Battista Vico is widely viewed as the first modern philosopher of history, a judgment largely based on his obscure 1744 masterpiece, New Science. In this new study Mark Lilla complicates this picture by presenting Vico as one of the most troubling of anti-modern thinkers. By combing Vico's neglected early writings on metaphysics and jurisprudence, Lilla reveals the philosopher's deep reservations about the modern outlook and shows how his science of history grew out of these very doubts."

The Rehabilitation of Myth: Vico's "New Science"
Joseph Mali (Cambridge University Press, 1985)

Vico [From Google Books] "In this important essay, Joseph Mali argues that Vico's New Science must be interpreted according to Vico's own clues and rules of interpretation, principally his claim that the 'master-key' of his New Science is the discovery of myth. Following this lead Mali shows how Vico came to forge his new scientific theories about the mythopoeic constitution of consciousness, society, and history by reappraising, or 'rehabilitating' the ancient and primitive mythical traditions which still persist in modern times."

Vico in the Tradition of Rhetoric
Michael Mooney (Routledge, 1995)

Vico [From] "In the West, a persistent line of thinking that has flourished from time to time holds that language is primary in culture, metaphor a necessity, and jurisprudence our highest achievement. This was the position of Vico, who not only received and cherished the tradition, but looked deeply into it, saw what its principles implied, and so made ready for the great social theorists of the nineteenth century. That is the thesis of this work. After an introductory chapter on Vico himself -- in which his intellectual world and his movements within it are sketched -- the work unfolds in three parts. These parts successively treat rhetoric, pedagogy, and culture, each proceeding from a major Vichian text."

Vico: A Study of the New Science (2nd Edition)
Leon Pompa (Cambridge University Press, 1990)

Vico [From Google Books] "A new chapter analyzing Vico's conception of the development of law has been added to this edition of a unique work devoted almost exclusively to an interpretation of the New Science."

Sensus Communis: Vico, Rhetoric, and the Limits of Relativism
John Schaeffer (Duke University Press, 1990)

Vico [From Google Books] "The concept sensus communis-a term that means a great deal more than its English translation "common sense"-has served as a key principle in the theory of knowledge from the ancient Greeks through the Enlightenment philosophers. John D. Schaeffer shows how the seventeenth-century Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico synthesized Greek and Roman ideas of what sensus communis and what this synthesis implies for current discussions of rhetoric and hermeneutics."

Vico's Science of Imagination
Donald Phillip Verene (Cornell University Press, 1992)


Philosophy and the Return to Self-Knowledge
Donald Phillip Verene (Yale University Press, 1997)

Vico [From Google Books] "This book contends that both Anglo-American analytic philosophy and Continental philosophy have lost their vitality, and it offers an alternative in their place, Donald Phillip Verene advocates a renewal of contemporary philosophy through a return to its origins in Socratic humanism and to the notions of civil wisdom, eloquence, and prudence as guides to human action. Verene critiques reflection -- the dominant form of philosophical thought that developed from Descartes and Locke -- and shows that reflection is not only a philosophical doctrine but is also connected to the life-form of technological society."