The Aesthetic Views of Giambattista Vico

V. N. Maksimovski


Vladimir Nikolaevich Maksimovski (1887–1941) — professor, Soviet party and government worker; together with A. K. Dzhivelegov, he began the local study of Machiavelli's legacy in the early 1930s. His documentary historical story about an Italian politician of the late Middle Ages “Cola di Rienzo” was published in the series “The Lives of wonderful People” in 1936 [1]. During the period of political repression in 1937, V. M. Maksimovski was arrested and died in exile. The text is a re-publication of Vladimir Maksimovski's article “The Aesthetic views of Giambattista Vico”. The article was published only once in 1935 in the journal “Literary Critic” [2]. The presented research is a somewhat shortened version of the preface to the failed edition of The New Science [3] by the famous Neapolitan thinker of the Age of Enlightenment translated by A. A. Huber. The preparation of the Russian language edition of Giambattista Vico's treatise (1668–1744) was carried out by the publishing house “Academia” of the St. Petersburg (Leningrad) Philosophical Society, which existed in 1921–1937, and was interrupted. The publishing house “Academia” ceased to exist after the arrest of the last head J. D. Janson in 1937. Only a few signal copies of the “New Science” with a preface by V. N. Maksimovski were released. At the end of the article itself there is a link to the original plans for its publication in this capacity. The changes of the activity and the huge contribution of the publishing house and the author of the unpublished preface to the study of Italian culture in the USSR of those years are described in detail in K. S. Landa's article “On the reception of Italian literature in the USSR: The preparation of an edition of Giambattista Vico’s Scienza Nuova (New Science) Giambattista Vico” [4]. K. S. Landa concludes that “the attention of the author of the article was focused primarily on Vico's ideas about language, poetics and rhetoric” [4. C. 232], while we know the legacy of J. Vico, first of all, as a theory of the cycle — the development of all nations in cycles consisting of three epochs, and his theory of the state. Subsequent articles about Vico published in the Soviet Union were much more critical: the author of “Science” was declared almost a scholastic, aesthetic views were forgotten, considering him only in the socio-political context of materialistic dialectics. This is another reason why V.N. Maksimovski's preface should be considered as an important element in the overall picture of the reception of the legacy of the Neapolitan thinker in Russia, whom he called even an earlier founder of aesthetics than I.-G. Baumgarten. Maksimovski’ reflections on the aesthetic views of J. Vico came out as a separate publication [2], and since the “New Science” was published in 1940 by another publishing house with an introductory article by M. Lifshits [5], the compilers of this issue of “Studia Culturae — Italian Studies” considered it their duty to once again introduce everyone connected with the study of Italian culture, to a part of a forgotten article by the very first editor of the edition of the treatise of Vico in Russian.


V. N. Maksimovski; Giambattista Vico; the New Science; aesthetics in USSR; history of culture; Italian culture


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Лифшиц М. А. Джамбаттиста Вико // Вико Дж. Основания новой науки об общей природе наций. Л.: ГИХЛ, 1940. С. 3–26.

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Маркс К., Энгельс Ф. Сочинения. Т. XII, ч. I. М., 1935.



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