Vico on Rhetoric - A Bibliography

A bibliography on the role of rhetoric in the thought of Giambattista Vico (1688-1744), including primary and secondary titles.

Comprehensive Bibliographies
The revival of Vico studies that began in the late 1960s produced several comprehensive bibliographies, supplementing the basic work of Benedetto Croce and Fausto Nicolini (Naples, 1947-48). The most recent comprehensive bibliography in English is Molly Black Verene's Vico: A Bibliography of Works in English from 1884 to 1994 (Bowling Green, OH: Philosophy Documentation Center, Bowling Green State University, 1994), which supplements and corrects A Bibliography of Vico in English 1884-1984, ed. Giorgio Tagliacozzo, Donald Phillip Verene, and Vanessa Rumble (Bowling Green, Ohio: Philosophy Documentation Center, Bowling Green State University, c1986). There has been only one supplement to this lastest bibliography, which appears in New Vico Studies 13 (1995). Although superceded by these bibliographies, Elio Gianturco's Selective Bibliography of Vico Scholarship (1948-1968) is useful for its topical organization, including the section "The Humanities; Humanism; Classical Philology; Rhetoric; Aesthetics; Literary theory; Linguistics; The Homeric question; Vico and Dante."

Bibliographies on Rhetoric
It was not until the latter third of the twentieth century that strong interest developed in the role of rhetoric in Vico's thought. Even though Vico was a professor of rhetoric for 42 years (1699-1741), Vico scholarship largely ignored the topic of rhetoric, having been influenced by the idealist preference for aesthetics found in Vico's modern editors: Benedetto Croce, Giovani Gentile, and Fausto Nicolini. This situation changed with the revival of Vico studies beginning in the late 1960s, in part because of a renewed interest in the central role of rhetoric in Vico's defense of humanist education, De nostri temporis studiorum ratione (1709), including an English translation by Elio Gianturco, On the Study Methods of Our Time (1965), and a series of articles by Ernesto Grassi arguing the philosophical relevance of Vico's defense of rhetoric as a counter to the dominance of Cartesianism in the modern world. This revival eventually resulted in several books on the topic of rhetoric in Vico's thought, including Michael Mooney's Vico in the Tradition of Rhetoric (1985), John D. Schaeffer's Sensus Communis: Vico, Rhetoric, and the Limits of Relativism (1990), and more recently the translation of Leo Catana's Vico og barokkens retorik (1996: Vico and Literary Mannerism 1999). Because there are no published bibliographies on this topic, these books have been the only sources for comprehensive bibliographical information.

The purpose of this bibliography is to provide a more comprehensive and up-to-date list of books, chapters, and articles on the role of rhetoric in Vico's thought. Future plans are to annotate each entry, including key words to assist in finding particular sub-topics, e.g., Vico on ars topica, Vico on metaphor.

Vico's Works on Rhetoric

I. Institutiones Oratoriae (1711-1741)
The Institutiones Oratoriae, Vico's only monographic-length work on rhetoric, consists in the basic content of his lectures on rhetoric at the Royal University of Naples from 1711 to 1741. The complete text of the Institutiones existed only in manuscript form until 1989, when Giuliano Crifò's critical edition was published. An English translation was published as The Art of Rhetoric (Institutiones Oratoriae, 1711-1741) seven years later (1996).

Standard Edition

English Translation

Reviews & Commentary

II. De nostri temporis studiorum ratione (1709)
Originally delivered in 1708 as the convocation for the opening of the school year at the University of Naples, Vico's De nostri criticizes the influence of Cartesianism in the schools, arguing instead that strong psychological and social needs require a curriculum grounded in the ars topica of ancient rhetoric.

Editions (chronological)

English Translations

Secondary Literature

I. Books

II. Articles & Chapters

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Last update: 11-Sep-03

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