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Croce on History

Aesthetic Defiguring

Massimo Verdicchio

The book is the first critical reading of all the major writings on history by Benedetto Croce. The study is not a summary but a critical assessment based on the relevance of Croce’s aesthetics for his concept of history. This account differs from previous studies which are characterized by the excluding or by minimizing the aesthetic, a process the author calls “defiguring.” Within this framework Croce’s concept of history is not a total philosophy but only an allegory of history: a narrative of the impossibility of history. In other words, Croce’s history is not unlike his definition of Hegel’s Phenomenology or his system as fiction. It is also not unlike Vico’s New Science, the other major influence on Croce’s concept of history, as an imaginative science. This study realigns Croce’s concept of history with Hegel’s and Vico’s to redefine, thanks to Croce, how we understand history.
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Contents

CONTENTS

Extract

Preface

Acknowledgments

List of Abbreviations

Introduction: The Background: Vico, Kant, and Hegel

Chapter 1. Art and History in Croce’s Early Writings

Chapter 2. Theory and History of Historiography

Chapter 3. History as the Story of Liberty

Chapter 4. The Character of Modern Philosophy

Chapter 5. Universal History and Philosophy of History

Chapter 6. Philosophy and Historiography

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