Posts Tagged ‘Niccolò Machiavelli’

I’ve been wanting to write something about brevity for a while now. You know: the soul of wit, brevitas vs. copia, maxims and arrows, and all that sort of thing. I fear I may write too much whilst saying too little. Ho hum.

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Ian Pindar’s Guardian review of The Prince from a few years back:

Is it better to be loved or feared? Is it always necessary to keep one’s word? How can we avoid being hated? These are just some of the fascinating questions raised by Machiavelli in this classic treatise on statecraft, although, as Maurizio Viroli points out in his fine introduction, it is odd that an avowed republican should write a book of instruction for a prince. Is it in fact a satire designed to enlighten the masses? It’s a nice idea, but Machiavelli’s cynicism is all-embracing: in his eyes we are all “ungrateful, fickle simulators and deceivers, avoiders of danger and greedy for gain”. Peter Bondanella’s new translation is based on the best text available today, and he breaks up Machiavelli’s often long and convoluted sentences to clarify his ideas. It’s well worth £3.99 of anyone’s money, and the answers to the opening questions are (1) feared (2) no, and (3) refrain from being rapacious and usurping the property and women of your subjects.

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