Democracy and the Vernacular Imagination in Vico’s Plebian Philology

History of Humanities (forthcoming)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This essay examines Giambattista Vico’s philology as a contribution to democratic legitimacy. I outline three steps in Vico’s account of the historical and political development of philological knowledge. First, his merger of philosophy and philology, and the effects of that merge on the relative claims of reason and authority. Second, his use of antiquarian knowledge to supersede historicist accounts of change in time and to position the plebian social class as the true arbiters of language. Third, his understanding of philological knowledge as an instrument of political change, and a foundational element in the establishment of democracy. By treating the philological imagination as a tool for bringing about political change, Vico’s plebian philology is radically democratic, and a crucial instrument in the struggle against the elite, from antiquity to the present.



External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

New Philology and Old French.R. Howard Bloch - 1990 - Speculum 65 (1):38-58.
Vico's political thought.B. A. Haddock - 1986 - Brynmill, Swansea: Mortlake Press.
Second Part.Giambattista Vico - 2005 - New Vico Studies 23:30-308.
Vico's science of imagination.Donald Phillip Verene - 1981 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Vico, iurisprudentia y derecho romano.Pablo Badillo O'Farrell - 2003 - Cuadernos Sobre Vico 15 (16):334.
Vico, Metaphor, and the Origin of Language.Marcel Danesi - 1993 - Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Vico: política, moral y ciencia.León Pompa - 1998 - Cuadernos Sobre Vico 9:10.


Added to PP

501 (#39,043)

6 months
129 (#31,177)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Rebecca Ruth Gould
School of Oriental and African Studies

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations