In this, the first full-length study of Vico's highly original autobiography, Verene discusses its place in the history of autobiography generally, and shows it to be the first work of modern intellectual autobiography which uses a genetic method. The author views the autobiography as a work in which Vico applies the principles of human history discussed in New Science, making the telling of his own life an application and verification of his own philosophy. He places Vico's autobiography within the general development of the genre, considering it in relation to Augustine's Confessions, Descartes's Discourse, and Rousseau's Confessions. The author shows Vico to be not only the founder of the philosophy of history, but also the originator of a philosophical art of self-narrative which is the response by a modern thinker to the ancient problem of self-knowledge.
'much to admire in Verene's book ... He makes a genuine contribution not only to Vichian studies but also to the study of autobiography as a genre ... This is a suggestive piece of work which is certain to open up new lines of enquiry ... Verene has performed a signal service in bringing together the bibliographies on Vico and autobiography as a genre. He has already made a decisive impression on recent Vichian scholarship.'
Bruce Haddock, International Studies in Philosophy, Vol. XXVI, No. 1, '94 `Verene's newest book - the first full-length study of Vico's autobiography - is bound ... to stir a lot of interst among Vico scholadrs and philosophers generally. And they will not be disappointed. The New Art of Autobiographyis a masterful work, a perfect complement to Vico's Science of Imagination. ... intelligent, profound, and penetrating analysis of Vichian narrative memoria ... a truly insightful glimpse into how Vico`s memoria helped
him narrate his own self ... Verene has charted some intriging routes for gaining access to the nature of this "meaning-making" power of the human mind through the autobiographical "map" provided by the world's first true "scientist" of the mind
Marcel Danesi, Rivista Di Studi Italiani 'As a study of Vico alone, this is a most helpful book.'
Times Literary Supplement `Verene, however, is concerned with Vico's ideas and with that work's philosophical implications, glossing it to excellent effect in the light of his own familiarity with the deep and obscure ideas contained in the New Science. ... this is a most helpful book.'
John Sturrock, Times Literary Supplement `we should be grateful to Verene for his thorough exploration of the new links between the autobiography and the New Science'
Peter Burke, The Times Higher Education Supplement `Verene has produced a splendid book that will speak with equal force to students of Vico and to students of autobiography.'
Review of Metaphysics, Dec 1993
Vico's life; the idea of autobiography; Augustine's "Confessions" and Descartes' "Discourse"; Vico's conception of his own philosophy; Vico's fable of himself; Vico's art.