Machiavelli's Prince: A New Reading (Paperback)
  • Machiavelli's Prince: A New Reading (Paperback)
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Machiavelli's Prince: A New Reading (Paperback)

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£28.99
Paperback 400 Pages / Published: 03/12/2015
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Why did Machiavelli write the Prince - and why did religious and political authorities find it so threatening? Five hundred years on, this book tries to answer these questions. In the first detailed, chapter-by-chapter reading of the Prince in any language, Erica Benner shows that the book is a masterpiece of ironic writing. Machiavelli's style is deliberately ambiguous: he often seems to say one thing, but gives readers clues that point toward a very different message. Beyond its 'Machiavellian' surface, the Prince has a surprisingly moral purpose. It teaches readers how to recognize hidden dangers in political conduct that merely appears great or praiseworthy - and to mistrust promises of easy solutions to political problems. This highly engaging new interpretation helps readers to see beyond the Prince's deceptive first appearances. Benner sets out Machiavelli's main ironic techniques at the outset, especially his coded use of words to signal praise or blame. Once readers become familiar with these codes, they will find it easier to grasp the Prince's surreptitiously pro-republican message - and its powerful critique of charismatic one-man rule and imperial politics.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198746805
Number of pages: 400
Weight: 592 g
Dimensions: 231 x 157 x 22 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Every student of Machiavelli will benefit from reading this book. * Choice *
Benner's book provides a great service to Machiavelli scholars . . . Because of her close reading and erudition, Benner points out much that is questionable in The Prince that could otherwise be missed (and which many scholars have missed). This is no small achievement. Benner's greatest interpretive innovation, however, does not stem from this close reading alone, but from having identified certain normatively laden code words that color Machiavelli's . . . seemingly neutral depiction of events and counsel. * Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *
The depth in which [Benner] pursues her interpretation . . . sets this book apart from previous studies . . . Benner's familiarity with the work of Tacitus, Livy and Plutarch enables her to identify dissonances that may have been more evident to Machiavelli and his classically educated contemporaries than they are to modern readers. Benner's book convincingly demonstrates the multi-layered complexity of Machiavelli's text, which she argues should be approached as a profoundly ambiguous piece of writing. * Renaissance Studies *
A welcome arrival, [this book] is a carefully considered examination that sheds much light on Machiavellis text and rhetoric . . . Benners excavation of Machiavellis subtle critique of empire and account of Cesare Borgias failures are particularly strong. * Perspectives on Politics *

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