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VICO, Giambattista.

De antiquissima italorum sapientia ex linguae latinae originibus eruenda libri tres.

Liber primus metaphysicus.

Naples: Felicis Mosca, 1710 Stock Code: 116811
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Contains the first printing of the aphorism "verum esse ipsum factum"

First edition of the Italian philosopher, historian, and jurist's fullest statement of the verum factum principle ("the true is precisely what is made"), the first book in the unrealised series of three outlining his anti-Cartesian philosophical system. The 1710 edition is extremely rare; there is only one previous auction record from 2008, in which it was sold bound with two other works.

Liber Primus Metaphysicus "remained virtually unknown for over a hundred years, although during Vico's lifetime it was widely read in Neapolitan academic circles" (Palmer, p. x). It was not translated from the Latin into Italian until 1816, and it was only reprinted in 1828. Vico's writings gained popularity during the 19th century, and his impact on the modern philosophy of history, culture, and mythology cannot be understated. Marx cites Vico in Das Kapital and Trotsky quotes him on the first page of his History of the Russian Revolution; Coleridge and Yeats were enthusiastic disseminators of Vichian ideas; and Joyce composed Finnegans Wake using Vico's four-part cyclical theory of civilisation. The second and third books, Liber Secundus Physicus and Liber Tertius Moralis, were never completed for unknown reasons.

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Duodecimo (163 x 90 mm). Contemporary vellum, spine lettered in manuscript, edges uncut.


Contemporary or near-contemporary ownership inscription to title page. Tanning and a little spotting to spine and extremities, slight wear to lower edge of front board, some very minor dampstain to front free endpapers, foxing and a few chips to contents; an excellent copy of this scarce edition.


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