Machiavelli is history's most startling political commentator. Recent interpreters have minimised his originality, but this book restores his radicalism. Robert Black shows a clear development in Machiavelli's thought. In his most subversive works The Prince, the Discourses on Livy, The Ass and Mandragola he rejected the moral and political values inherited by the Renaissance from antiquity and the middle ages. These outrageous compositions were all written in mid-life, when Machiavelli was a political outcast in his native Florence. Later he was reconciled with the Florentine establishment, and as a result his final compositions including his famous Florentine Histories represent a return to more conventional norms.
This lucid work is perfect for students of Medieval and Early Modern History, Renaissance Studies and Italian Literature, or anyone keen to learn more about one of history's most potent, influential and arresting writers.
"…[this book] is a very valuable resource for anyone who wants to approach for the first time the work and life of one of the most influential and controversial political thinkers." -Mario Prades Vilar in Sixteenth Century Journal
PART ONE MACHIAVELLI AND FLORENCE 1 Florence and the Machiavelli family 2 Early life, education and first writings 3 Chancery career: Machiavelli and Florentine politics 4 The chancery years: diplomatic activities and literary production PART TWO THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE 5 The Prince: context 6 The Prince: message and meaning PART THREE THE RETURN TO CLASSICAL HUMANISM 7 The Discourses: context 8 The Discourses: meaning and significance PART FOUR MAN OF LETTERS 9 Poetry, theatre, narrative PART FIVE THE RETURN TO DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC SERVICE 10 Politics and history 11 The diplomat and adviser to princes reborn