Vickie Sullivan: Selected Publications

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

Vickie Sullivan, Political Theory

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. Purchase this book >

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgements   vii
Introduction by Vickie B. Sullivan   ix
1 The Cuckold in Machiavelli's Mandragola Harvey C. Mansfield 1
2 Clizia and the Enlightenment of Private Life Robert Faulkner 30
3 Comedy, Machiavelli's Letters, and His Imaginary Republics Arlene W. Saxonhouse 57
4 Machiavelli's Discourse on Language Susan Meld Shell 78
5 Tragic Machiavelli Ronald L. Martinez 102
6 Lost in the Wilderness: Love and Longing in L'Asino Michael Harvey 120
7 The Politician as Writer Franco Fido 138
8 Beyond Limits: Time, Space, Language in Machiavelli's Decennali Barbara J. Godorecci 159
9 The Classical Heritage in Machiavelli's Histories: Symbol and Poetry as Historical Literature Edmund E. Jacobitti 176
Contributors   193
Notes   195
Index   239