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The Prince (Oxford World's Classics) 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199535699
ISBN-10: 0199535698
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Literary scholar Peter Bondanella rightly seeks the cold elegance and readability of the original. Serious English readers will want both translations. Lauro Martines, TLS

About the Author

Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian politician, diplomat, founding father of political science, and author of the preeminent political treatise, The Prince. Born in Florence, Italy, Machiavelli held many government posts over his lifetime and often took leading roles in important diplomatic missions. During his time visiting other countries and nation states, Machiavelli was exposed to the politics of figures like Ceasare Borgia and King Louis XII, experiences which would inform his writings on state-building and politics. Machiavelli s political career came to an abrupt end when the Medici overthrew Florence, and he was held as a prisoner under the new regime. Tortured for a short time, he was released without admitting to any crime or treason. At this point, Machiavelli retired and turned to intellectual and philosophical pursuits, producing his two major works, The Prince and Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livy. He died in 1527 at the age of 58.

Jody Robin Shiffman is Associate Instructor of Italian at Indiana University. She is Associate Editor of the Dictionary of Italian Literature (2d rev. ed., 1996).

Maurizio Viroli is professor emeritus of politics at Princeton University and professor of political communication at the University of Italian Switzerland in Lugano. His many books include "Niccolo s Smile: A Biography of Machiavelli" (Hill & Wang), "Machiavelli s God" (Princeton), and "The Liberty of Servants: Berlusconi s Italy" (Princeton).
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1st edition (May 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199535698
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199535699
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.9 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Prince" is an important, albeit controversial, work that still holds popular appeal today. The book's concern is an individual's rise to power; a formidable discourse, explaining that abandoning one's morals and ethics is sometimes a necessity in order to reach the top. Sensitive readers will recognize, however, that Machiavelli's endorsement of cut-throat behavior is mainly the result of tremendous cynicism. Not only is he cynical about the way the world works, he's aware of his own cynicism. Before Machiavelli, political theory was, essentially, "virtue will be rewarded" (Plato, Aristotle). But in Renaissance Italy, it's pretty obvious that was not always, or at least not only, true. From that perspective Machiavelli is terrifyingly radical; but from a more modern perspective, he resembles the garden-variety politician, especially in that his core ideas center upon keeping princes in power.

Maurizio Viroli's introductory essay is basically an abbreviated version of his book "Machiavelli" (Oxford U.P., 1998). Viroli places Machiavelli in the tradition of classical republicanism going back through the Florentine humanists to Cicero and Livy, and he demonstrates effectively how Machiavelli's works are imbued with the language of that tradition, especially from the late Middle Ages on. Viroli's republican Machiavelli espoused the "vivere civile" ("civil life"), a political ideal that could only be realized in a republic, where people could participate in politics while subjecting themselves willingly to the rule of law because of their love of country and desire to serve the common good.
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With all of the different translations of this classic available it can be difficult to decide which one to purchase. I would highly recommend this one above the others because of the authors long experience with the subject matter. This was not his first attempt to translate the original. As I recall the first time was about thirty years earlier. The introduction to this book is some 70 pages long and is invaluable to the reader as it puts one into the time frame and perspective of the original author, Machiavelli.
I am pleased to have finally read The Prince and recommend this edition highly.
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Format: Paperback
I won't expound the joys of reading Machiavelli since many other reviewers have done so. Peter Bondanella's translation is wonderfully readable, capturing both the cadence and elegant simplicity of Machiavelli. Bondanella has updated his previous translation of 'The Prince' (with Mark Musa), which can be found in the previous Oxford edition and in the Viking Portable Machiavelli. The introduction by Maurizio Viroli is a pleasant new feature. The introduction covers all of the basic points necessary for anyone new to Machiavelli, while including some of Viroli's own ideas about Machiavelli's use of contemporary principles of rhetoric. For a more detailed introduction to Machiavelli you may also want to try the paperback edition of Viroli's book Machiavelli (Founders of Modern Political and Social Thought), although the price is quite high for an introduction. Two excellent and inexpensive introductions are Quentin Skinner's Machiavelli: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) and Cary Nederman's 'Machiavelli: A Beginner's Guide' Machiavelli: A Beginner's Guide (Beginners Guide (Oneworld)), both of which cover more than just 'The Prince'. Finally, the low price makes this edition a great value.

UPDATE 11/19/2011: MORE DETAIL

After having worked with this edition for a few years now, I feel the need to adjust my initial review in one way.
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Excellent book for art history, since this book deals mostly with the art of war. If this is your first "pre-modern" book then it might be better to look at a brief summary first beforehand so you have a feel for the book first.
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I'm going to keep this review to the point in that after reading this superb translation from the Oxford's World Classics. I took the initiative in reading through the introduction, the footnotes, and of course the content itself. It is simply flawless and the choice of words translated is one of the primary reasons why I've purchased this translation. It is the choice of words translated properly into English, for proper context, that matters and it captures the original Italian version that Machiavelli originally published back in 1532. It helps the reader understand the intent and purpose of what Machiavelli was saying throughout as it pertains to virtue and esteem. Moreover, I appreciate the binding and the book cover art because it makes you appreciate it even more with the fantastic artwork that fits the time period perfectly, as well as the timeline itself that is presented in the book for further knowledge. If you are looking to get into a career in political affairs, international relations, or the broad range of careers in diplomacy then I strongly recommend that you add this book to your catalog. If you're looking for something to read that is philosophical but yet... political, I still recommend it but I strongly recommend that you read the introduction for background.
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