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Thursday 04 July 2024 e Friday 05 July 2024, 10:30 AM • Rome


Vico, Giambattista

New Science Principles, 1725

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Naples, Felice Mosca, 1725. In 12°, 161 x 95 mm. Intaglio frieze on the title page, drop caps and running titles, SHARDED EXAMPLE, usual browning of the paper, contemporary binding in full blond calfskin with dry impressions on the plates, single fillet gilt frame, on the spine 5 bands separating six compartments with gold decorations , title on black leather insert, defects on the upper cap and defects on the lower cap and hinges. Marzorati example, n.915 of his catalogue. EXCEPTIONAL COPY WITH HANDMADE CORRECTIONS BY VICOon pp.35, 46, 59, 60, 61, 108, 142, 173, 249, 267, 3-line cartouche glued on the reverse of the last page of the text to amend it. Other pages contain additions and revisions to the text probably attributable to readers close to Vico, as it is well known that Vico himself sent several copies (about 30) of the present edition to friends close to him.   

Specialist Notes

Very rare first edition of Vico's Scienza Nuova, a genuine, untouched copy, with handwritten corrections to the text made by Vico himself. A fundamental historiographical work, the Scienza Nuova was "the vehicle with which the concept of historical development finally entered the thought of Western Europe" (PMM).

The history of present edition, which in Vico's intentions was to be much more substantial, but Prince Corsini's lack of financing led him to print a different and reduced version compared to the original manuscript. Printed in 1000 copies at his own expense, elaborated in about a month, the edition presents its own characteristic and peculiar facies. "The Scienza Nuova of 1725 represents a writing of great linearity and unique beauty on which Vico's usual need to return to his works to rethink and perfect them had no opportunity, if not extremely limited, to be exercised in short times of its preparation for publication and of its first circulation (Nuzzo, p.xxv)

“It should be noted that the practice that characterizes the set of authorial interventions carried out on the copies of the 1725 text does not responds to a systematic strategy such as the one "[applied] for the 1730 edition. The limited processing time of the 1725 volume, and the desire to circulate numerous copies in the shortest time, are therefore reasons that effectively limited this circumstance, but ultimately they do not contradict Vico's congenial practice of presenting himself as a "regular visitor to the typography, concerned with correcting the most glaring errors or with personalizing - from the point of view not only of form, but also of content - copies intended for particular characters” (Sanna, Note, p.17) – pp.XVII-XVIII.”
Enrico Nuzzo was able to collate 35 of the 36 witnesses registered (one was missing) and detected various corrective phases: the variants of print, present in few copies but presumably more frequent than has been noted; the corrections introduced directly into the text, without being able to intervene at that point in the printing on the typographical forms (pen corrections) "after the Conclusion, of the already mentioned AAR [Additions, Fines and Reprimands]"; the affixing of the title block to the lines of the penultimate sheet, after having printed the sheet. “A further, obviously particularly relevant, type of intervention on the published text (therefore pertinent to a fourth phase) is represented by the addition, on the 23 annotated witnesses, of a significant number, although not copious overall (less than thirty), of handwritten annotations: mainly corrections written in the body of the line, with rare marginal additions. The majority of these amendments concern the introduction of 'corrective' lessons on typos; However, the variations that can be defined as substantial, or 'improving', of rethinking are very limited. For the purposes of relevant ecdotical considerations, this data must be linked to the very short timescales for the work on interventions on the witnesses, compared to the publication of the work." p.XIX
"What is certain is that the collation of the witnesses attests, as already noted, to the lack of care on the part of the author such as to systematically make a set of corrections and additions to them [as instead will happen in 1730]. (…) Most of the interventions on the text, during its printing or in the time immediately following it, concerned the correction of typos. (...) the set of interventions serious about the publication of the text, which can be placed strictly close to the publication of the work, does not in any way define a phase of evolution of Vico's meditation (...)". p.XXVI.
Giambattista Vico, La Scienza Nuova 1725, by Enrico Niuzzo. Rome, Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2023.

First summary list of manuscript corrections/integrations found in the text: p.18 Utilità con la forza; p.21 [other hand]; p.27 Annius; p.29 minors; p.35 the entire Interpretation; p.43 defined [other hand]; p.50 and in the sacred Scripture Deus Garantum Nostrorum [other hand]; p.59 Gathering; p.60 for; p.61 and [plus other minor corrections]; p.80 of shares [other]; p.108 since?; p.142, corrections; p.173 large [other]; p.249, corrections; p.267 commanding.

Brunet V, 1175; Cross I, p. 1; Nicolini Bibliography Vichiana I, p. 37ff; Nicolini Works III, p. 335ff.; Printing and the Mind of Man 184. Marino Parenti, Bibliographic information on the original editions of the 'Scienza Nuova', G. C. Sansoni, c.1950.

Condition report

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