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    Vico’s Road to Postmodernism

    Fahey, Michael W. Anthony (2006) Vico’s Road to Postmodernism. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Postmodernism is a post Second World War movement that is the natural issue of its progenitor, modernism. That is, where early twentieth century and post First World War ‘modern’ intellectuals held that it was their privilege and duty to restore order to a fragmented and chaotic world, post Second World war thinkers hold that since world order is an unachievable and therefore fruitless ambition, all humankind can do is make the best of what they have. One could say that where modernists attempted to put the shattered shell of Humpty Dumpty back together again following his tumble from the wall, postmodernists feel that all one can do is do what one can with the pieces. Postmodernism is also associated with a movement that arose when writers and thinkers, in the wake of Saussure’s revelation that the words we attach to things are purely arbitrary, turned their iconoclastic gaze on universal concepts or ‘grand narratives’. This thesis sets out to show that postmodern consciousness is not a recent phenomenon, but, as a critique of the fragility of the claims made by exponents of the notion of metanarratives or ‘universal concepts’, it is evident in the philosophy of the eighteenth century Italian philosopher, Giambattista Vico. The title of this thesis, ‘Vico’s Road to Postmodernism’, is something of a play on words of the theme that James Joyce, who, as will be shown, Ihab Hassan identifies as a postmodern thinker, took for his book Finnegans Wake. It seems that Joyce, who declared that his imagination soared whenever he read Vico, as a tribute to the Italian philosopher, begins the narrative of his famous novel at the Vico Road in the South Dublin suburb of Killiney. Not only is there a link between the name of this road and Giambattista Vico, but the view of Dublin Bay from this road is said to replicate the view of the bay of Naples, Vico’s native city.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Vico; Postmodernism;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > Philosophy
    Item ID: 5225
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2014 13:21

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