Discourses on Livy is the founding document of modern republicanism, and Harvey C. Mansfield and Nathan Tarcov have provided the definitive English translation of this classic work. Faithful to the original Italian text, properly attentive to Machiavelli's idiom and subtlety of thought, it is eminently readable. With a substantial introduction, extensive explanatory notes, a glossary of key words, and an annotated index, the Discourses reveals Machiavelli's radical vision of a new science of politics, a vision of "new modes and orders" that continue to shape the modern ethos.
"[Machiavelli] found in Livy the means to inspire scholars for five centuries. Within the Discourses, often hidden and sometimes unintended by their author, lie the seeds of modern political thought. . . . [Mansfield and Tarcov's] translation is careful and idiomatic."—Peter Stothard, The Times
"Translated with painstaking accuracy—but also great readability."—Weekly Standard
"A model of contemporary scholarship and a brave effort at Machiavelli translation that allows the great Florentine to speak in his own voice."—Choice
|Publisher:||University of Chicago Press|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I strongly advise any reader interested in coming away from this book with a real appreciation for Machiavelli's brilliance to have recently read Titus Livy's 'Ab Urbe Condita' before attempting this book, and then follow-up your reading with the neo-infamous University of Chicago professor Leo Strauss's 'Thoughts on Machiavelli'. Ninety percent of the insight to be gained from this classic lies in contemplating the aporia between stated examples and stated and/or omitted conclusions. And if you ever personally aspire to become a presidential candidate or urban revolutionary, you'd be well advised to contrast and compare the perspective of 'The Discourses' with 'The Prince' as well, for between these two works lies all that can be known about the acquisition and maintenance of power. PS - This book is not recommended for the 'faint of heart' or the post-modern immoralist. Both will miss the point.
No one who wants to have a fair outlook of the whole political reflexions of Machiavelli, might get it without reading 'Discourses..' (Discorsi...). There the reader will find another kind of Machiavelli. Not The Prince's, but another thinker. Deeper and broader, the main topic rather than how to get the power (as along The Prince), is now how to stabilize it. Livy's work is just a motive for Machiavelli's analizes. So, the frequent reference to ancient Greek or Roman history, serves as comparative model regarding the actual Italian and the lager European exuberant political universe. Instead the prince needed to unify Italy and set it free from foreing powers, the central figure is a republic capable to keep liberty alive and a 'virtuosa' social life, in terms of participation in the power exercise. Most of the conclusions keep still today a wise validity. That´s why after 'Discourses...' (albeit it seems The Prince was written in the middle of the former's one composition years) one can talk rightly about a 'republican' Machiavelli. If he was not father, at least he was uncle (a bright one) of the since many years called 'protective republicanism'. In few words: the book put in evidence his very scope and stature. Doubtless, 'Discourses...' show us another kind of Machiavelli. Different than the often known one. But still more, different than the ignored one (although ignorance never has been and impediment for many people to speak improperly about 'Machiavelli', 'machiavellism' and 'machiavellic'.)