Should leaders be feared or loved? Can dictators give rise to democracy? Should rulers have morals or wear them like a mask? Niccol’ Machiavelli’s The Prince puts forth unsettling questions like these, whose answers redefined centuries of political wisdom. But what does it really mean to be Machiavellian?
These 24 lectures are more than just a close reading of one of the great books of Western history. They’re a revealing investigation of the historical context of Machiavelli’s philosophical views, his tumultuous relationship with Florentine politics, his reception by his contemporaries and by 20th-century scholars, and his lasting influence on everyone from William Shakespeare to Joseph Stalin.
Throughout the lectures, you’ll dive deeply into the work’s most important chapters to survey their main insights; read between the lines to uncover hidden meanings, inspirations, and ironies; learn how scholars have debated their historical inspiration and importance; and discover the author’s startling imagery and sometimes beautiful language. Going beyond the commonly held vision of Renaissance Italy as a place of creative genius, Professor Landon reveals the drama and terror of Machiavelli’s life and world, including his relationships to the city of Florence, the powerful Medici family, and the villainous Cesare Borgia (Machiavelli’s ideal prince).
For those who have already heard The Prince, prepare to engage with the text on a deeper level than ever before. And for those who’ve always wanted to listen to this important book, this is your introduction to one man’s revolutionary beliefs about achieving – and maintaining – power.