Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press
Machiavelli's Prince: A New Reading

Machiavelli's Prince: A New Reading

by Erica Benner
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Why did Machiavelli write the Prince - and why did religious and political authorities find it so threatening? Five hundred years on, this book tries to answer these questions.

In the first detailed, chapter-by-chapter reading of the Prince in any language, Erica Benner shows that the book is a masterpiece of ironic writing. Machiavelli's style is deliberately ambiguous: he often seems to say one thing, but gives readers clues that point toward a very different message. Beyond its 'Machiavellian' surface, the Prince has a surprisingly moral purpose. It teaches readers how to recognize hidden dangers in political conduct that merely appears great or praiseworthy - and to mistrust promises of easy solutions to political problems.

This highly engaging new interpretation helps readers to see beyond the Prince's deceptive first appearances. Benner sets out Machiavelli's main ironic techniques at the outset, especially his coded use of words to signal praise or blame. Once readers become familiar with these codes, they will find it easier to grasp the Prince's surreptitiously pro-republican message - and its powerful critique of charismatic one-man rule and imperial politics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198746805
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 01/26/2016
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 960,388
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Erica Benner is Fellow in Ethics and Political philosophy at Yale University. She previously taught at Oxford University and the London School of Economics. She is the author of Really Existing Nationalisms (OUP 1995), Machiavelli's Ethics (PUP 2009), and many publications in the ethics of nationalism and self-determination.

Table of Contents

Ironic techniques
Coded words
Dedication: Princes and peoples
1: Republics and principalities
2: Maintaining states
3: Empire
4: Absolute government
5: Free cities
6: Virtú
7: Fortune
8: Crimes
9: Fortunate astuteness
10: Abundance and necessity
11: Popes
12: Arms and laws
13: Arms and virtú
14: Knowledge and discipline
Virtues and vices
15: Praise and blame
16: Giving and spending
17: Fear and punishment
18: Deception and good faith
19: What princes should fear
Prudence and trust
20: Trusting one's own subjects
21: Gaining trust from allies
22: Trustworthy ministers
23: Why princes need the truth
24: Stop blaming others
25: How to deal with fortune
26: Pick yourself up
Ironic techniques
Coded words
Dedication: Princes and peoples
1. Republics and principalities
2. Maintaining states
3. Empire
4. Absolute government
5. Free cities
6. Virtu
7. Fortune
8. Crimes
9. Fortunate astuteness
10. Abundance and necessity
11. Popes
12. Arms and laws
13. Arms and virtu
14. Knowledge and discipline
Virtues and vices
15. Praise and blame
16. Giving and spending
17. Fear and punishment
18. Deception and good faith
19. What princes should fear
Prudence and trust
20. Trusting one's own subjects
21. Gaining trust from allies
22. Trustworthy ministers
23. Why princes need the truth
24. Stop blaming others
25. How to deal with fortune
26. Pick yourself up

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