"Fortune is a woman, and if you want to keep her under, you've got to knock her around some."—Niccolò Machiavelli
Hanna Pitkin's provocative and enduring study of Machiavelli was the first to systematically place gender at the center of its exploration of his political thought. In this edition, Pitkin adds a new afterword, in which she discusses the book's critical reception and situates the book's arguments in the context of recent interpretations of Machiavelli's thought.
"A close and often brilliant exegesis of Machiavelli's writings."—The American Political Science Review
A Great and Wretched City
Mark Jurdjevic Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress DG736.3.M333J87 2014 | Dewey Decimal 945.506
Dispelling the myth that Florentine politics offered only negative lessons, Mark Jurdjevic shows that significant aspects of Machiavelli's political thought were inspired by his native city. Machiavelli's contempt for Florence's shortcomings was a direct function of his considerable estimation of the city's unrealized political potential.
Questioning the usual judgements of political ethics, Ruth W. Grant argues that hypocrisy can actually be constructive while strictly principled behavior can be destructive. Hypocrisy and Integrity offers a new conceptual framework that clarifies the differences between idealism and fanaticism while it uncovers the moral limits of compromise.
"Exciting and provocative. . . . Grant's work is to be highly recommended, offering a fresh reading of Rousseau and Machiavelli as well as presenting a penetrating analysis of hypocrisy and integrity."—Ronald J. Terchek, American Political Science Review
"A great refreshment. . . . With liberalism's best interests at heart, Grant seeks to make available a better understanding of the limits of reason in politics."—Peter Berkowitz, New Republic
The Letters of Machiavelli
Niccolò Machiavelli University of Chicago Press, 1988 Library of Congress DG738.14.M2A4 1988 | Dewey Decimal 320.10924
This collection of the most brilliant and characteristic letters of Niccolò Machiavelli displays the vital and penetrating mind of the man who wrote the first work of modern political science. These letters, which reveal Machiavelli's critical intelligence, sense of humor, and elegant sense, are our chief source of information about his personal life. As such, they will serve as a vivid introduction to the personalities and events of the most turbulent period of the Renaissance, and they will also enlighten people who have been fascinated by the political thinker who wrote The Prince and The Discourses on Livy.
Machiavelli: A Portrait
Christopher Celenza Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress JC143.M4C38 2015 | Dewey Decimal 320.1092
The man whose name is shorthand for all that is ugly in politics was more nuanced than his reputation suggests. Christopher Celenza’s portrait of Machiavelli removes the varnish to reveal not just the hardnosed philosopher but the skilled diplomat, learned commentator on ancient history, comic playwright, tireless letter writer, and thwarted lover.
Machiavelli in the Making
Claude Lefort Northwestern University Press, 2012 Library of Congress JC143.M4L413 2011 | Dewey Decimal 320.01
Machiavelli in the Making is both a novel interpretation of the Florentine’s work and a critical document for understanding influential French scholar and public intellectual Claude Lefort’s later writings on democracy and totalitarianism. Lefort extricates Machiavelli’s thought from the dominant interpretations of him as the founder of “objective” political science, which, having liberated itself from the religious and moralizing tendencies of medieval political reflection, attempts to arrive at a realistic discourse on the operations of raw power. Lefort ultimately finds that Machiavelli’s discourse opens the “place of the political” which had previously been occupied by theology and morality.
Machiavelli on Liberty and Conflict
Edited by David Johnston, Nadia Urbinati, and Camila Vergara University of Chicago Press, 2017 Library of Congress JC143.M4M3225 2017 | Dewey Decimal 320.011
More than five hundred years after Machiavelli wrote The Prince, his landmark treatise on the pragmatic application of power remains a pivot point for debates on political thought. While scholars continue to investigate interpretations of The Prince in different contexts throughout history, from the Renaissance to the Risorgimento and Italian unification, other fruitful lines of research explore how Machiavelli’s ideas about power and leadership can further our understanding of contemporary political circumstances.
With Machiavelli on Liberty and Conflict, David Johnston, Nadia Urbinati, and Camila Vergara have brought together the most recent research on The Prince, with contributions from many of the leading scholars of Machiavelli, including Quentin Skinner, Harvey Mansfield, Erica Benner, John McCormick, and Giovanni Giorgini. Organized into four sections, the book focuses first on Machiavelli’s place in the history of political thought: Is he the last of the ancients or the creator of a new, distinctly modern conception of politics? And what might the answer to this question reveal about the impact of these disparate traditions on the founding of modern political philosophy? The second section contrasts current understandings of Machiavelli’s view of virtues in The Prince. The relationship between political leaders, popular power, and liberty is another perennial problem in studies of Machiavelli, and the third section develops several claims about that relationship. Finally, the fourth section explores the legacy of Machiavelli within the republican tradition of political thought and his relevance to enduring political issues.
Machiavelli's New Modes and Orders is the only full-length interpretive study on Machiavelli's controversial and ambiguous work, Discourses on Livy. These discourses, considered by some to be Machiavelli's most important work, are thoroughly explained in a chapter-by-chapter commentary by Harvey C. Mansfield, one of the world's foremost interpreters of this remarkable philosopher.
Mansfield's aim is to discern Machiavelli's intention in writing the book: he argues that Machiavelli wanted to introduce new modes and orders in political philosophy in order to make himself the founder of modern politics. Mansfield maintains that Machiavelli deliberately concealed part of his intentions so that only the most perceptive reader could see beneath the surface of the text and understand the whole of his book. Previously out of print, Mansfield's penetrating study brings to light the hidden thoughts lurking in the details of the Discourses on Livy to inform and challenge its readers at every step along the way.
Catherine H. Zuckert University of Chicago Press, 2017 Library of Congress JC143.M4Z935 2016 | Dewey Decimal 320.1
Machiavelli is popularly known as a teacher of tyrants, a key proponent of the unscrupulous “Machiavellian” politics laid down in his landmark political treatise The Prince. Others cite the Discourses on Livy to argue that Machiavelli is actually a passionate advocate of republican politics who saw the need for occasional harsh measures to maintain political order. Which best characterizes the teachings of the prolific Italian philosopher? With Machiavelli’s Politics, Catherine H. Zuckert turns this question on its head with a major reinterpretation of Machiavelli’s prose works that reveals a surprisingly cohesive view of politics.
Starting with Machiavelli’s two major political works, Zuckert persuasively shows that the moral revolution Machiavelli sets out in The Prince lays the foundation for the new form of democratic republic he proposes in the Discourses. Distrusting ambitious politicians to serve the public interest of their own accord, Machiavelli sought to persuade them in The Prince that the best way to achieve their own ambitions was to secure the desires and ambitions of their subjects and fellow citizens. In the Discourses, he then describes the types of laws and institutions that would balance the conflict between the two in a way that would secure the liberty of most, if not all. In the second half of her book, Zuckert places selected later works—La Mandragola, The Art of War, The Life of Castruccio Castracani, Clizia, and Florentine Histories—under scrutiny, showing how Machiavelli further developed certain aspects of his thought in these works. In The Art of War, for example, he explains more concretely how and to what extent the principles of organization he advanced in The Prince and the Discourses ought to be applied in modern circumstances. Because human beings act primarily on passions, Machiavelli attempts to show readers what those passions are and how they can be guided to have productive rather than destructive results.
A stunning and ambitious analysis, Machiavelli’s Politics brilliantly shows how many conflicting perspectives do inform Machiavelli’s teachings, but that one needs to consider all of his works in order to understand how they cohere into a unified political view. This is a magisterial work that cannot be ignored if a comprehensive understanding of the philosopher is to be obtained.
Harvey C. Mansfield University of Chicago Press, 1996 Library of Congress JC143.M4M355 1996 | Dewey Decimal 320.1092
Uniting thirty years of authoritative scholarship by a master of textual detail, Machiavelli's Virtue is a comprehensive statement on the founder of modern politics. Harvey Mansfield reveals the role of sects in Machiavelli's politics, his advice on how to rule indirectly, and the ultimately partisan character of his project, and shows him to be the founder of such modern and diverse institutions as the impersonal state and the energetic executive. Accessible and elegant, this groundbreaking interpretation explains the puzzles and reveals the ambition of Machiavelli's thought.
"The book brings together essays that have mapped [Mansfield's] paths of reflection over the past thirty years. . . . The ground, one would think, is ancient and familiar, but Mansfield manages to draw out some understandings, or recognitions, jarringly new."—Hadley Arkes, New Criterion
"Mansfield's book more than rewards the close reading it demands."—Colin Walters, Washington Times
"[A] masterly new book on the Renaissance courtier, statesman and political philosopher. . . . Mansfield seeks to rescue Machiavelli from liberalism's anodyne rehabilitation."—Roger Kimball, The Wall Street Journal
Montesquieu is rightly famous as a tireless critic of despotism, which he associates in his writings overtly with Asia and the Middle East and not with the apparently more moderate Western models of governance found throughout Europe. However, a careful reading of Montesquieu reveals that he recognizes a susceptibility to despotic practices in the West—and that the threat emanates not from the East, but from certain despotic ideas that inform such Western institutions as the French monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church.
Nowhere is Montesquieu’s critique of the despotic ideas of Europe more powerful than in his enormously influential The Spirit of the Laws, and Vickie B. Sullivan guides readers through Montesquieu’s sometimes veiled, yet sharply critical accounts of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Aristotle, and Plato, as well as various Christian thinkers. He finds deleterious consequences, for example, in brutal Machiavellianism, in Hobbes’s justifications for the rule of one, in Plato’s reasoning that denied slaves the right of natural defense, and in the Christian teachings that equated heresy with treason and informed the Inquisition.
In this new reading of Montesquieu’s masterwork, Sullivan corrects the misconception that it offers simple, objective observations, showing it instead to be a powerful critique of European politics that would become remarkably and regrettably prescient after Montesquieu’s death when despotism wound its way through Europe.
As new ideas arose during the Enlightenment, many political thinkers published their own versions of popular early modern "absolutist" texts and transformed them into manuals of political resistance. As a result, these works never achieved a fixed and stable edition. Publishing The Prince illustrates how Abraham-Nicolas Amelot de La Houssaye created the most popular late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century version of Machiavelli's masterpiece. In the process of translating, Amelot also transformed the work, altering its form and meaning, and his ideas spread through later editions.
Revising the orthodox schema of the public sphere in which political authority shifted away from the crown with the rise of bourgeois civil society in the eighteenth century, Soll uses the example of Amelot to show for the first time how the public sphere in fact grew out of the learned and even royal libraries of erudite scholars and the bookshops of subversive, not-so-polite publicists of the republic of letters.
Jacob Soll is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University.
Cover art courtesy of Annenberg Rare Book Room and Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania
Jacket Design: Stephanie Milanowski
"Jacob Soll traces the origins of Enlightenment criticism to the practices of learned humanists and hard-pressed literary entrepreneurs. This learned and lively book is also a tour de force of historical research and interpretation."
---Anthony Grafton, author of Cardano's Cosmos and Bring Out Your Dead
"Brilliant. How the printed page changed political philosophy into investigative reporting, and reason of state into the unmasking of power."
---J. G. A. Pocock, author of The Machiavellian Moment
"Soll's path-breaking study is a 'must read' for all those interested in the history of political thought and early modern intellectual history."
---Barbara Shapiro, University of California Berkeley
"Soll has done [Amelot] and his context justice, writing as he does with a clear, singular, and welcome voice."
---Margaret C. Jacobs, American Historical Review
Thoughts on Machiavelli
Leo Strauss University of Chicago Press, 1995 Library of Congress JC143.M4S75 1978 | Dewey Decimal 320.1
Leo Strauss argued that the most visible fact about Machiavelli's doctrine is also the most useful one: Machiavelli seems to be a teacher of wickedness. Strauss sought to incorporate this idea in his interpretation without permitting it to overwhelm or exhaust his exegesis of The Prince and the Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy. "We are in sympathy," he writes, "with the simple opinion about Machiavelli [namely, the wickedness of his teaching], not only because it is wholesome, but above all because a failure to take that opinion seriously prevents one from doing justice to what is truly admirable in Machiavelli: the intrepidity of his thought, the grandeur of his vision, and the graceful subtlety of his speech." This critique of the founder of modern political philosophy by this prominent twentieth-century scholar is an essential text for students of both authors.