Vico and Joyce
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Joyce said, "My imagination grows when I read Vico as it doesn't when I read Freud or Jung. " This volume is the first extended examination of the connections between Vico and Joyce. Joyce employed Vico's New Science as the basis of Finnegans Wake, as he employed Homer's Odyssey as the basis of Ulysses. In what ways are Vico and Joyce similar? To what extent is Vico an influence on Joyce? And in what ways can Vico's philosophy be newly understood when seen in relation to Joyce's use of it? This book suggests ways to see both thinkers anew.
Vico and Joyce is divided into three major parts: "Cycles and History," in which Vico's famous conception of the course and recourse of historical events is examined in relation to Joyce's use of this idea in Finnegans Wake; "Joyce and Vico," in which the relationship between the two thinkers is approached more from the side of Joyce than Vico; "Language and Myth," in which the similarities of Vico's and Joyce's grasp of language and imaginative forms of thought are considered.
This book opens up a relationship and set of ideas whose time has come. In the last decade there has been an exciting renaissance in the study of Vico that originated in the English-speaking world and spread back to Italy. Joyce has been the one major twentieth-century figure through which most English readers have come to know something of Vico. To consider them together opens up new avenues for our understanding of the imagination, memory, and the cyclic course of human history.
Donald Phillip Verene is Professor of Philosophy at Emory University.