In Redeeming "The Prince," one of the world's
leading Machiavelli scholars puts forth a startling new
interpretation of arguably the most influential but widely
misunderstood book in the Western political tradition. Overturning
popular misconceptions and challenging scholarly consensus,
Maurizio Viroli also provides a fresh introduction to the work.
Seen from this original perspective, five centuries after its
composition, The Prince offers new insights into the
nature and possibilities of political liberation.
Rather than a bible of unscrupulous politics, The
Prince, Viroli argues, is actually about political
redemption--a book motivated by Machiavelli's patriotic desire to
see a new founding for Italy. Written in the form of an oration,
following the rules of classical rhetoric, the book condenses its
main message in the final section, "Exhortation to liberate Italy
from the Barbarians." There Machiavelli creates the myth of a
redeemer, an ideal ruler who ushers in an era of peace, freedom,
and unity. Contrary to scholars who maintain that the exhortation
was added later, Viroli proves that Machiavelli composed it along
with the rest of the text, completing the whole by December 1513 or
Only if we read The Prince as a theory of political
redemption, Viroli contends, can we at last understand, and
properly evaluate, the book's most controversial pages on political
morality, as well as put to rest the cliché of Machiavelli as a
Bold, clear, and provocative, Redeeming "The Prince"
should permanently change how Machiavelli and his masterpiece are
Subjects: Political Science, History, Philosophy
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