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Vico’s Ring


terest lies in grasping Vico’s idiosyncratic approach to the Ho-

meric writings, and in this respect, it will be examined how spe-

cific aspects of Spinoza’s hermeneutics might be related to Vi-

co’s own practice, and be relevant to casting it into more pro-

nounced relief. Thus, the question of Vico’s overt or covert




per se

will essentially be sidestepped in the present


No discussion of Vico’s treatment of Homer in Book III can

leave out of consideration the status itself that it occupies and

commands in the entire work. For Vico, the Homeric poems

«provide the supreme testing ground for his theory of poetry

and, consequently, for the entire movement of

Scienza nuova




To call Book III



Scienza nuova

can be said in two senses,

first in the sense of being fundamental


and secondly, by virtue

of being placed precisely midway through the book


. It remains

to be seen whether, and how, the contents of the other Books

dialectically relate to Book III, and how Book III radiates back

into the rest of the work.

The recognition of Vico’s deliberate choice of locating the

material on Homer at a particular point in his grand narrative

now cannot but beg the question whether this may just be part

of an overall compositional framework. If there is a “center”, it

follows that there be, at least in a simple formalistic sense, a first

half of the work preceding the center, and a second half follow-

ing it. But, since one is dealing with a literary giant like Vico, one

would be compelled to infer that there are deep connections un-

derlying the order in which the material is organized. A case

could therefore be made that the first order of the day be an ex-

amination of the compositional structure of

Scienza nuova.


will make an initial attempt at doing so


, and propose to proceed

on the basis of a particular working hypothesis that is (initially)

intuitively inspired by the


– in the literal sense – of the

Book on Homer. Stated directly, the hypothesis is that



is designed as “ring structure”. Since the exposition of the