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Knowledge of Things Human and DivineVico's New Science and "Finnegans Wake"$
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Donald Phillip Verene

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300099584

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300099584.001.0001

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The Life of Vico: A Career in Naples

The Life of Vico: A Career in Naples

(p.40) 2 The Life of Vico: A Career in Naples
Knowledge of Things Human and Divine

Donald Phillip Verene

Yale University Press

This chapter describes Vico's descent from the timeless world of childhood to the underworld of a coma, from which he emerged as a child of Saturn, of Chronos, with the melancholic and acrid nature of a philosopher. Vico was transformed from a lively and restless child of fair disposition into a youth whose temperament is associated with ingenious and profound thinkers who, as Vico says, “through ingenuity flash like lightning in acuity, through reflection take no pleasure in witticism and falsity.” The cause of this transformation was Vico's fall, at the age of seven, headfirst from the top of a ladder to the floor. This fall fractured his skull severely, and he remained so long unconscious that the attending surgeon predicted he would either die or survive stolid.

Keywords:   timeless world, childhood, Saturn, Chronos, restless child, fair disposition

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