MICHELET, Jules (trans.); VICO, Giambattista.

Principes de la Philosophie de l'Histoire,

traduits de la Scienza nuova de J.B. Vico, et précédés d'un discours sur le système et la vie de l'auteur.

Paris: Jules Renouard, 1827 Stock Code: 127158
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Popularizing Vico

First edition of Michelet's translation of Vico. Michelet's translation introduced Vico to a broader audience and helped to establish the Italian philosopher's fame. The present translation abridges, romanticises and clarifies the original dense and obscure text, and this, combined with Michelet's prefatory essay on Vico and his methods, shaped the 19th century's interpretation of the writer as a forerunner of romanticism and humanist nationalism, an interpretation which remains to this day. Sorel and Joyce found inspiration in Michelet's text for their own theories and stories of modern mythology. Moreover, Vico can be claimed to be the most important influence on Michelet's own historical writings: Michelet's preface to his 1869 work Histoire de France states that "Vico was my only master". However, this enthusiasm has resulted in modern disapproval of the translation - in seeking to convey the spiritual message of the text, Michelet paid little attention to philological procedures, used his own creative imagination to resolve textual difficulties, and even decided to give the work a new title. Despite its success, the first edition is uncommon, with Library Hub listing copies in only six British institutions.

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Octavo (205 x 124 mm). Contemporary quarter calf, brown morocco label, spine bands tooled in blind and gilt, marbled sides and endpapers, brown speckled edges.


Old newspaper clipping on Vico loosely inserted. A couple of tiny rubbing marks, a very faint stain at fore edge of initial few leaves, else an excellent copy.


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