- G. B. Vico's Global Reception:Europe, Latin America, and Asia
Vico's global reception was recorded in the venerable but now largely obsolete Bibliografia vichiana (1947–48), initiated by Benedetto Croce and enriched by Fausto Nicolini. It is an ambitious manual, intended as a user-friendly guide to Vichian studies, published all over the world, and, at the same time, as an homage to Crocean philosophy. In the meantime the interest in Vico continued to grow, while Croce's reputation dimmed. More recent studies are listed in bibliographies compiled by specialists such as Andrea Battistini, Silvia Caianiello, Maurizio Martirano, David Armando, and Monica Riccio. Today nobody would contemplate the possibility of bringing up to date the Bibliografia, a splendid shipwreck that no longer floats. Therefore we must be content with a few snapshots of Vico's reputation in various continents without trying to offer a complete picture.
In recent years, Vico's textual studies have undergone a sea change thanks to the joint efforts of various scholars, promoted by the Neapolitan section of the Istituto per la Storia del Pensiero Filosofico e Scientifico Moderno, under the aegis of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. Currently the New Science is viewed as a work in progress, which reached its apex with the second edition (1730), considered more reliable than the third (1744), twice translated into English (see Molly Black Verene, "Works on Giambattista Vico in English from 1884 through 2009," New Vico Studies 27 : 187). In 2004 Fabrizio Lomonaco, Fulvio Tessitore, and Manuela Sanna contributed to this new trend of Vichian studies an excellent facsimile reproduction of a copy, with autograph corrections and marginalia, of the second edition of the New Science. Among other things, Lomonaco is the author of a collection of impressively researched essays on Neapolitan culture (A partire da Giambattista Vico: Filosofia, diritto e letteratura nella Napoli del secondo Settecento [Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2010]). Now Lomonaco has published a facsimile edition of the De nostri temporis studiorum ratione, an academic speech given by Vico in 1708 and published in 1709 (On the Study Methods of Our Time, according to Elio Gianturco's translation, reprinted by Cornell University Press in 1990, with a preface by Donald Phillip Verene). The original Latin text is accompanied by a facing Italian translation by M. Di Benedetto. [End Page 538]
In the substantial introductory essay, Lomonaco notes that the translation of the Latin term ratio into metodo or "method" (singular, not plural, as in Gianturco's version) is not indifferent inasmuch as it alludes to the modern thought of Galileo, Bacon, and Descartes, which constitutes the backbone of Vico's speech. Lomonaco rightly interprets Il metodo degli studi as a premodern treatise on the method of studies rather than a traditional ratio studiorum, or "plan of studies," in syntony with Jesuit educational theory. It is undeniable that the antidogmatic approach of Il metodo degli studi is at odds with the tenets of the Council of Trent, still in full force during Vico's time, when the Papal Court, Italy's great bulwark of religious and political conservation, was anxiously monitoring any sign of rebellion against the status quo (see Patrizia Delpiano, "Illuminismo," in Dizionario storico dell'Inquisizione, ed. Adriano Prosperi, Vincenzo Lavenia, and John Tedeschi [Pisa: Edizioni della Normale, 2010], II, 761–4).
According to Lomonaco, Il metodo degli studi reflects a stage of Vichian thought, characterized...