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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

La medicina eroica e l'aporia dell'"eroe femminile": Dal De mente heroica alla Scienza nuova

P. 95-105.

This study takes as its departing point the famous medical metaphor, used by Vcio in De mente heroica – that of the university as a hospital. Vico analyzes the medical dimension of heroism not only in De mente: it is discussed in detail in his funeral oration for Angela Cimmino and the preface to Pietro Belli's translation of the Fracastoro's Sifilide, but medical arguments are also spread all through his major works, De constantia and Scienza nuova. It is not a chance that Vico used medical arguments, dealing with a highly aporetical type of a hero – a virtuous woman. This perspective made it appropriate to compare two types of feminine heroes in Vico: Angela Cimmino as a Christian-Platonic hero of the third age of the history of mankind and «Lugrezia romana» as an extraordinary hero of the second. It has been shown, that Vico used opposite rhetorical strategies dealing with these two protagonists: while effacing and glossing over the Livian «Lucretia story», he mobilizes all the resources of his oratory in order to demonstrate the anthropological impossibility of the feminine hero in the age of the mente spiegata.