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Niccolo Machiavelli : an intellectual biography /
Corrado Vivanti ; translated by Simon MacMichael.
imprint
Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2013.
description
xvii, 261 p. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
9780691151014 (hc : acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2013.
isbn
9780691151014 (hc : acid-free paper)
contents note
A shadowy period : the first half of his life -- The relationship with Savonarola -- The activity in the Chancery -- The correspondence with functionaries of the domain -- Diplomatic activity -- The experience of the early missions -- Changes of fortune and the Ghiribizzi al Soderino -- The Florentine ordinance -- The Venetian defeat and the reconquest of Pisa -- The end of the republic and the return of the Medici -- The confinement at Sant'Andrea -- "I have composed a little work on princedoms" -- The "myth" of the prince -- Frequenting the Orti Oricellari -- An original comment on Livy -- The art of war -- A new season in Machiavelli's life -- A return to business -- "The annals or the history of Florence" -- "The things done at home and abroad by the Florentine people" -- The friendship with Guicciardini -- Clizia and the musical madrigals -- Final act.
catalogue key
8862136
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [219]-253) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"I cannot imagine a work on Machiavelli that would benefit readers more than this extremely valuable book. Vivanti, who was one of the most eminent Machiavelli scholars, provides a fine introduction to Machiavelli's life and thought, writing with a clarity and precision that only a lifetime of study made possible. But this is far more than an introduction. Its treatment of Machiavelli's republicanism is probably the finest that exists, and its discussion of many other important topics--from Machiavelli's relationship to the Medici to his cultural background and his ideas on religion--are equally persuasive."--Maurizio Viroli, author of Niccolò's Smile: A Biography of Machiavelli "This is a very readable and reliable guide to Machiavelli's life and thought from a distinguished editor of the Florentine's works. Providing far more comprehensive coverage than any other short guide, Vivanti presents an informative account of all of Machiavelli's writings, handling them with winning suppleness and authority. He reveals the intimate connections between Machiavelli's thought and the vicissitudes of his career within a colorful and turbulent political world characterized by incessant war, duplicitous statecraft, and delicate diplomacy."--Peter Stacey, University of California, Los Angeles
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2013-03-15:
Vivanti's book doesn't supplant Roberto Ridolfi's flagship study of 1963, The Life of Niccolo Machiavelli, but it should sit comfortably on the shelf with that classic account. Past editor of the standard Italian edition of Machiavelli's works, Vivanti, an emeritus history professor who died in 2012, intertwines analysis of the Florentine's writings with discussion of the rapidly changing milieu in which Machiavelli lived. His judgments are well founded throughout but disputable in some details. Vivanti sees Machiavelli's life as part of the flowering of the humanist movement that was changing the intellectual tone of his day. Serious readers may question this emphasis on continuity across Machiavelli's writings, but there are many rooms in this mansion and many views can be accommodated. A serious omission is Vivanti's failure, in a lengthy discussion of the use of "lo stato" in Machiavelli, to address J.H. Hexter's argument ("Il Principe and lo stato," 1957) that "lo stato" is not seen as an institution, a body politic, in "Il Principe" but rather as "an instrument of exploitation." VERDICT Overall, this graceful and informative biography should win many readers and is a welcome addition to Machiavelli scholarship. While public libraries may have Miles J. Unger's Machiavelli: A Biography, they should consider this work as well; it is recommended for all scholarly collections.-David Keymer, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
[E]xcellent, and accessible to anyone interested in finding out more about Machiavelli.
"[E]xcellent, and accessible to anyone interested in finding out more about Machiavelli."-- Jonathan Powell, Prospect
"[I]nformative and . . . level-headed."-- Keith Miller, Telegraph
Paints a complex picture of the circumstances that shaped the man whose name became synonymous with political cunning.
"Paints a complex picture of the circumstances that shaped the man whose name became synonymous with political cunning."-- Karl Kunkel, ForeWord Reviews
Sensible and useful. . . . [Vivanti] sets forth the greatness of Machiavelli, not as a figure of his time, the Renaissance, but as a founder of modernity.
"Sensible and useful. . . . [Vivanti] sets forth the greatness of Machiavelli, not as a figure of his time, the Renaissance, but as a founder of modernity."-- Harvey C. Mansfield, Wall Street Journal
Students well versed in the classics, the historian's vast writings and medieval history will most enjoy this academic biography.
"Students well versed in the classics, the historian's vast writings and medieval history will most enjoy this academic biography."-- Kirkus Reviews
[T]his graceful and informative biography should win many readers and is a welcome addition to Machiavelli scholarship. . . . [R]ecommended for all scholarly collections.
"[T]his graceful and informative biography should win many readers and is a welcome addition to Machiavelli scholarship. . . . [R]ecommended for all scholarly collections."-- Library Journal
"Vivanti supplies a fascinating, concise guide to Machiavelli's life and work. . . . [W]ell worth reading."-- Joanna Kavenna, Spectator
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, March 2013
Kirkus Reviews, April 2013
ForeWord Magazine, May 2013
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
This is a colorful, comprehensive, and authoritative introduction to the life and work of the author of The Prince --Florentine statesman, writer, and political philosopher Niccol Machiavelli (1469-1527). Corrado Vivanti, who was one of the world's leading Machiavelli scholars, provides an unparalleled intellectual biography that demonstrates the close connections between Machiavelli's thought and his changing fortunes during the tumultuous Florentine republic and his subsequent exile. Vivanti's concise account covers not only Machiavelli's most famous works-- The Prince , The Discourses , The Florentine Histories , and The Art of War --but also his letters, poetry, and comic dramas. While setting Machiavelli's life against a dramatic backdrop of war, crisis, and diplomatic intrigue, the book also paints a vivid human portrait of the man. Vivanti's narrative breaks Machiavelli's life into three parts: his career in a variety of government and diplomatic posts in the Florentine republic between 1494 and 1512, when the Medici returned from exile, seized power, and removed Machiavelli from office; the pivotal first part of his subsequent exile, when he formulated his most influential ideas and wrote The Prince ; and the final decade of his life, when, having returned to Florence, he wrote The Art of War , The Florentine Histories , the satirical play The Mandrake , and other works. Along the way, the biography presents unmatched accounts of many intensely debated topics, including the precise nature of Machiavelli's cultural and intellectual background, his republicanism, his political and personal relationship to the Medici, and his ideas about religion.
Main Description
This is a colorful, comprehensive, and authoritative introduction to the life and work of the author of The Prince --Florentine statesman, writer, and political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527). Corrado Vivanti, who was one of the world's leading Machiavelli scholars, provides an unparalleled intellectual biography that demonstrates the close connections between Machiavelli's thought and his changing fortunes during the tumultuous Florentine republic and his subsequent exile. Vivanti's concise account covers not only Machiavelli's most famous works-- The Prince , The Discourses , The Florentine Histories , and The Art of War --but also his letters, poetry, and comic dramas. While setting Machiavelli's life against a dramatic backdrop of war, crisis, and diplomatic intrigue, the book also paints a vivid human portrait of the man. Vivanti's narrative breaks Machiavelli's life into three parts: his career in a variety of government and diplomatic posts in the Florentine republic between 1494 and 1512, when the Medici returned from exile, seized power, and removed Machiavelli from office; the pivotal first part of his subsequent exile, when he formulated his most influential ideas and wrote The Prince ; and the final decade of his life, when, having returned to Florence, he wrote The Art of War , The Florentine Histories , the satirical play The Mandrake , and other works. Along the way, the biography presents unmatched accounts of many intensely debated topics, including the precise nature of Machiavelli's cultural and intellectual background, his republicanism, his political and personal relationship to the Medici, and his ideas about religion.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. vii
The Florentine Secretaryp. 1
A Shadowy Period: The First Half of His Lifep. 3
The Relationship with Savonarolap. 7
The Activity in the Chanceryp. 11
The Correspondence with Functionaries of the Domainp. 19
Diplomatic Activityp. 24
The Experience of the Early Missionsp. 28
Changes of Fortune and the Ghiribizzi al Soderinop. 36
The Florentine Ordinancep. 41
The Venetian Defeat and the Reconquest of Pisap. 51
The End of the Republic and the Return of the Medicip. 58
Exile in His Homelandp. 69
The Confinement at Sant'Andreap. 71
"I have composed a little work On Princedoms"p. 76
The "Myth" of The Princep. 85
Frequenting the Orti Oricellarip. 103
An Original Comment on Livyp. 108
The Art of Warp. 122
"Niccolò Machiavelli, Historian, Comic Writer, and Tragic Writer"p. 127
A New Season in Machiavelli s Lifep. 129
A Return to Businessp. 135
"The annals or the history of Florence"p. 143
"The things done at home and abroad by the Florentine people"p. 149
The Friendship with Guicciardinip. 168
Clizia and the Musical Madrigalsp. 176
Final Actp. 180
Appendix: Notes on the Use of the Word Stato in Machiavellip. 193
Notesp. 219
Indexp. 255
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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