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Machiavelli in Love: Sex, Self, and Society in the Italian Renaissance Hardcover – December 20, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This provocative and complicated work about sex and self-fashioning sits at the nexus of historical and literary studies... It challenges readers to rethink both traditional literary interpretations and historical understanding.

(Choice)

Ruggiero's intent in Machiavelli in Love is much more than a recasting of Machiavelli: it is to examine self and identity in the Renaissance... One can applaud his insertion of the playful into our sense of the Renaissance.

(Thomas Kuehn Renaissance Quarterly)

Add to your reading list Johns Hopkins' study of sex, self, and society.

(Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance)

Innovative in its technique, subtle and revealing in its arguments, and whenever it turns to the theme of sodomy, throws off brilliant light.

(Randolph Trumbach American Historical Review)

Readers of Machiavelli in Love will certainly come away with a feeling for the playfulness of Renaissance sexuality. One of the book's achievements is that it shows the extent to which the literature of high culture had deep roots in everyday experience. Few will ever again doubt the importance of sex in creating Renaissance identity.

(William J. Connell Journal of Interdisciplinary History)

Ruggiero provides challenging accounts of public ethics and private morality by analysing a selection of literary and archival material. Armed with humour and determination, he deciphers the subtle codes of Renaissance narratives, and comments on the various ways in which identity and sexuality were constructed, understood and politicised.

(Stamatoula Panagakou Political Studies Review)

This is a veteran historian’s book of literary speculation... It is also, I suspect, a teacher’s book. It favors texts that enliven an English-speaking classroom on Italian history both because they support good lessons and because they bring students into engagement with the Italian past. How better to stir up Anglo-Saxon students, after all, than with tales, tragic or comical, that touch on passion, tenderness, deception, loss, or ribaldry!

(Thomas Cohen H-Italy, H-Net Reviews)

Written in the accessible narrative style that Ruggiero’s readers will recognize, the study is a lively investigation that raises a central question about how the construction of self was dependent on sexual reputation.

(Gerry Milligan Annali d’ Italianistica)

A book that no one will be able to ignore in historical, gender, and Italian literary studies. Here Ruggiero breaks new ground, especially with his keen eye for connecting fiction with social experience.

(Edward Muir, Northwestern University, author of Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice and Mad Blood Stirring: Vendetta and Factions in Friuli during the Renaissance)

Ultimately makes a remarkable case for the integration of individual and societal identity within an understanding of the Italian Renaissance.

(Jason Hardgrave European History Quarterly)

Having to think creatively and act daringly under changing circumstances, this diaspora presents scholars with a fascinating and complex challenge of probing a spectrum of hybrid, fluid, and shifting identities.

(Louis Haas Sixteenth Century Journal)

Suggestive new readings of an unusual range of texts.

(Gary Cestaro Journal of the History of Sexuality)

From the Back Cover

Machiavelli in Love introduces an exciting new concept of sex and sexual identity and their roles in the culture and politics of the Italian Renaissance. Guido Ruggiero's study counters the consensus among historians and literary critics that there was little sense of individual identity and almost no sense of sexual identity before the modern period.

"Ruggiero's intent in Machiavelli in Love is much more than a recasting of Machiavelli: it is to examine self and identity in the Renaissance... One can applaud his insertion of the playful into our sense of the Renaissance."― Renaissance Quarterly

"One of the book's achievements is that it shows the extent to which the literature of high culture had deep roots in everyday experience. Few will ever again doubt the importance of sex in creating Renaissance identity."― Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"This provocative and complicated work about sex and self-fashioning sits at the nexus of historical and literary studies... It challenges readers to rethink both traditional literary interpretations and historical understanding."― Choice

Guido Ruggiero is professor and chair of the Department of History at the University of Miami. He is coeditor and cotranslator of Five Comedies from the Italian Renaissance, also published by Johns Hopkins, and author of several books, including Sex and Gender in Historical Perspective, Binding Passions: Tales of Magic, Marriage, and Power at the End of the Renaissance and The Boundaries of Eros: Sex, Crime, and Sexuality in Renaissance Venice.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (December 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801885167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801885167
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,687,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By L. A. Holford-strevens on March 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ruggiero's book, based alike on literary and documentary sources, is a study of Cinquecento constructions of identity, by one self and others, and in particular the role of sexual conduct in constructing masculinity. It also challenges the over-rigid distinction between a pre-modern sexuality of practice and a modern sexuality of identity, demonstrating that exclusive homo- and heterosexuality were recognized in the sixteenth century. In addition, we see the complexity of Machiavelli's personality revealed in the characters created in his own plays. A masterly and wide-ranging book.
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Format: Paperback
The book looks fascinating and I would love to read it. However, it is in 10 point print, and I will have to read it with a magnifying glass. Readers with older eyes---a significant part of your target readership---be forewarned. ALAS.
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