Machiavelli / Edition 1

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Overview

This book presents a critical examination of Machiavelli's thought, combining an accessible, historically-informed account of his work with a reassessment of his central ideas and arguments. Viroli challenges the accepted interpretations of Machiavelli's work, insisting that his republicanism was based not on a commitment to virtue, greatness, and expansion, but to the ideal of civic life protected by the shield of fair laws. His detailed study of how Machiavelli composed The Prince offers a number of new interpretations and he further contends that the most challenging—and underestimated—aspect of Machiavelli's thought is his philosophy of life, in particular his conceptions of love, women, irony, God, and the human condition.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Princeton University
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Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 Machiavelli's Philosophy of Life 11
From the Angle of Poverty and Hardship 12
The Miseries of the Human Condition 15
Man and Cosmos 17
A Political God 21
Irony, Love, and the Variety of the World 24
Magnanimity and the Pursuit of Glory 35
The Tree of Politics 40
2 The Art of the State 42
Politics as Civil Wisdom 43
The Limits of Civil Wisdom 47
Machiavelli's Critique of Classical Politics 50
The Critique of the Medicean Art of the State 56
The Methods of the Art of the State 62
3 The Power of Words 73
The Tradition of Political Rhetoric and the Rhetorical Structure of The Prince 75
The Rhetorical Power of History 97
The Ambivalent Power of Rhetoric 108
4 The Theory of the Republic 114
Republicanism before Machiavelli 116
Machiavelli's Theory of the Well-Ordered Republic 121
Political Corruption and its Remedies 131
Redemptive Politics 143
5 The Passion of Liberty 148
The Tradition of Republican Patriotism 149
Machiavelli's Patriotism 156
Notes 175
Further Reading 231
Index 235
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