The Prince: A Revised Translation, Backgrounds, Interpretations, Marginalia / Edition 2

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Overview

Robert M. Adams’s superb translation of Machiavelli’s best-known work is again the basis for this Norton Critical Edition.
Accurate, highly readable, and thoroughly revised for the Second Edition, this translation renders Machiavelli’s 1513 political tract into clear and concise English.
"Backgrounds" relies entirely upon Machiavelli’s other writings to place this central Florentine in his proper political and historical context. Included are excerpts from The Discourses, a report from a diplomatic mission, a collection of private letters, and two poems from Carnival Songs.
"Interpretations" retains three of the previous edition’s seminal essays while adding five selections by Felix Gilbert, Federico Chabod, J. H. Whitfield, Isaiah Berlin, and Robert M. Adams.
"Marginalia" is an eclectic collection of writings germane to both Machiavelli and The Prince. Of the eight selections represented, five of them are new to the Second Edition, including Pasquale Villari’s comic portrayal of Machiavelli’s first diplomatic post in 1499, Francesco Guicciardini’s lofty rebuttal to Machiavelli, and a collection of Tuscan Sayings to further the reader’s understanding of this timeless text.
An updated Selected Bibliography is also included.

Described as a practical rule-book for the diplomat and a handbook of evil, this work provides an uncompromising picture of the true nature of power.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
First published in 1517, this classic treatise on the art of practical politics remains a fascinating and powerful work. Laying down uncompromising guidelines for successful leadership, Machiavelli leaves no room for indecision or weakness, and his text comes alive in the voice of actor Fritz Weaver. The narrator's performance is energetic and committed, heightening the dramatic impact of such controversial mandates as the necessary destruction of all the members of a ruling family, of inflicting violence once and for all, or of acting cruelly for the sake of unity. The text is prefaced by the unidentified translator's enlightening introduction. The packaging is aesthetically appealing but flimsy. Definitely recommended for academic and large public libraries.

--Sister M. Anna Falbo CSSF, Villa Maria College Library, Buffalo. N.Y.
— Charles L. Lumpkins, Pennsylvania State University, University Station
— A.J. Sobczak, formerly with California State University, Northridge

Library Journal
First published in 1517, this classic treatise on the art of practical politics remains a fascinating and powerful work. Laying down uncompromising guidelines for successful leadership, Machiavelli leaves no room for indecision or weakness, and his text comes alive in the voice of actor Fritz Weaver. The narrator's performance is energetic and committed, heightening the dramatic impact of such controversial mandates as the necessary destruction of all the members of a ruling family, of inflicting violence once and for all, or of acting cruelly for the sake of unity. The text is prefaced by the unidentified translator's enlightening introduction. The packaging is aesthetically appealing but flimsy. Definitely recommended for academic and large public libraries.

--Sister M. Anna Falbo CSSF, Villa Maria College Library, Buffalo. N.Y.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393962208
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/1992
  • Series: Norton Critical Editions Series
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 267,166
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert M. Adams was Professor of English (Emeritus) at the University of California at Los Angeles. He was the author of many books, including Ikon: John Milton and the Modern Critics; Strains of Discord; Proteus, His Lies, His Truth: Discussion of Literary Translation; The Land and Literature of England; and Shakespeare—The Four Romances. In addition to the Norton Critical Edition of Utopia (he was translator and editor of the First and Second Editions), Professor Adams was editor of five other Norton Critical Editions, including The Prince by Machiavelli, Candide by Voltaire, and The Praise of Folly and Other Writings by Erasmus, the texts of which he also translated. He was a founding editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature.

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Read an Excerpt

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Seventeenth Chapter: Concerning Cruelty and Clemency, and Whether It Is Better to Be Loved Than Feared

...Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed, they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life, and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. And that prince, who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, and not by greatness or by nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails....

Twenty-First Chapter: How a Prince Should Conduct Himself So as to Gain Renown

...A prince is also respected when he is either a true friend or a downright enemy, that is to say, when, without any reservation, he declares himself in favour of one party against the other; which course will always be more advantageous than standing neutral; because if two of your powerful neighbours come to blows, they are of such a character that, if one of them conquers, you have either to fear him or not. In either case it will always be more advantageous for you to declare yourself and to make war strenously; because, in the first case, if you do not declare yourself, you will invariably fall a prey to the conqueror, to the pleasure and satisfaction of his who has been conquered, and you will have no reasons to offer, nor anything to protect or to shelter you. Because he who conquers does not want doubtful friends who will not aid him in the time of trial; and he who loses will not harbour you because you did not willingly, sword in hand, court his fate....

Translation by: W.K. Marriott

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Table of Contents

Introduction
A Note on the Translation
Chronology
Map
The Prince 1
Dedicatory Letter 3
I How Many Are the Kinds of Principalities and in What Modes They Are Acquired 5
II Of Hereditary Principalities 6
III Of Mixed Principalities 7
IV Why the Kingdom of Darius Which Alexander Seized Did Not Rebel from His Successors after Alexander's Death 16
V How Cities or Principalities Which Lived by Their Own Laws before They Were Occupied Should Be Administered 20
VI Of New Principalities That Are Acquired through One's Own Arms and Virtue 21
VII Of New Principalities That Are Acquired by Others' Arms and Fortune 25
VIII Of Those Who Have Attained a Principality through Crimes 34
IX Of the Civil Principality 38
X In What Mode the Forces of All Principalities Should Be Measured 42
XI Of Ecclesiastical Principalities 45
XII How Many Kinds of Military There Are and Concerning Mercenary Soldiers 48
XIII Of Auxiliary, Mixed, and One's Own Soldiers 54
XIV What a Prince Should Do Regarding the Military 58
XV Of Those Things for Which Men and Especially Princes Are Praised or Blamed 61
XVI Of Liberality and Parsimony 62
XVII Of Cruelty and Mercy, and Whether It Is Better to Be Loved Than Feared, or the Contrary 65
XVIII In What Mode Faith Should Be Kept by Princes 68
XIX Of Avoiding Contempt and Hatred 71
XX Whether Fortresses and Many Other Things Which Are Made and Done by Princes Every Day Are Useful or Useless 83
XXI What a Prince Should Do to Be Held in Esteem 87
XXII Of Those Whom Princes Have as Secretaries 92
XXIII In What Mode Flatterers Are to Be Avoided 93
XXIV Why the Princes of Italy Have Lost Their States 96
XXV How Much Fortune Can Do in Human Affairs, and in What Mode It May Be Opposed 98
XXVI Exhortation to Seize Italy and to Free Her from the Barbarians 101
App Machiavelli's Letter of December 10, 1513 107
Glossary 113
Bibliography 141
Index of Proper Names 145
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