The Comedy and Tragedy of Machiavelli: Essays on the Literary Works

Front Cover
Vickie B. Sullivan
Yale University Press, 2000 - Literary Criticism - 246 pages
The Italian statesman and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli, well known as the author of The Prince, wrote not only grave, cold-blooded political tracts but also comedies, poems, fables, and letters that are seemingly lighthearted. What are we to make of the two extremes in Machiavelli's writings? This volume brings together outstanding scholars in the fields of literature, political science, and history to explore the meanings of Machiavelli's literary works, the light as well as the dark. Contemplating the comic and tragic in Machiavelli, the contributors offer new perspectives on his obsessions, intentions, and capabilities and reveal through sometimes opposing visions of their subject much about his political-historical treatises as well.

The nine essays in the book consider nearly all of Machiavelli's literary and dramatic works, including the lively and ribald comedy Mandragola, the comic play Clizia, the ambivalent poem "The Ass," the symbolic Florentine Histories, and Machiavelli's fascinating correspondence. The contributors to the volume--among them Harvey C. Mansfield, Arlene W. Saxonhouse, Franco Fido, and Ronald L. Martinez--do not always resolve their opposing visions of the essentially tragic or comic Machiavelli, yet none contests the weight of his insights into the world and especially into the actors on the great stage of politics.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - baswood - LibraryThing

This is a very good selection of Essays on the literary works of Machiavelli and focuses particularly on the lesser known works. It is edited by Vickie B Sullivan whose introduction sets the tone for ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - carterchristian1 - LibraryThing

We have such a limited view of Michiavelli. Invoke his name and there is a kneejerk reaction. This book shows how his contribution to literature included comedy. These essays place him in a larger context. I would say this is a must read for any political science student. Read full review


The Cuckold in Machiavellis Mandragola
Clizia and the Enlightenment of Private Life Robert Faulkner
Comedy Machiavellis Letters and His Imaginary Republics
Machiavellis Discourse on Language
Tragic Machiavelli Ronald L Martinez
Love and Longing in LAsino
The Politician as Writer Franco Fido
Time Space Language in Machiavellis Decennali
Symbol and Poetry

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information