Should leaders be feared or loved? Can dictators give rise to democracy? Should rulers have morals or wear them like a mask? Niccolò 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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2016 The Great Courses (P)2016 The Teaching Company, LLC
I learned a lot of history and context and culture in this lecture series. I began with some knowledge but found the text too dense. I am better informed after this listen. The speaker's voice well modulated and paced.
I first thought this would be a audio rendition of the book. instead it was about the author and the creation of this literary work. However it was a fascinating study of history.
Would recommend this presentation of the Prince. The author gives a great historical perspective as well as compares views of the same book from many different sources/ characters/authors
Machiavelli's name, when dropped, never fails to intimidate, impressing upon all listening that the speaker must really know their stuff. Nodding, feigning understanding, each then scuttles away, making a mental memo to google the aforementioned historical character and gain this super power for themselves. But the enjoyment of Machiavelli's trademark adjective was overshadowed by that of his life and story within the first few minutes of this book. In truth, the very fact that no one really seems to know too much about Machiavelli, which I had expected to lend me such conversational auctoritas (if you will), is now a torture, as this series left me eager to talk about him. It's made me, I suppose you could say, a fan! The lecturer clearly has a strong affection for the man, which adds to the pleasure of listening. I have yet to read the Prince itself, hoping first to find a primer for the material before making the attempt. This book is exactly what I had hoped, and comes highly recommended! My one regret is not looking into this fascinating and important thinker sooner.
Professor Landon's enthusiasm for The Prince and its author is evident throughout the lectures, which are concise, entertaining, and always educational. He explores the text of the book and its meanings, along with the historical context of Machiavelli's life, his personal biography, and the book's history and influence after its author's death. Truly a wonderful experience.
Professor Landon is a dazzling lecturer. He effectively weaves the life and story of Nicolo Machiavelli, the person, and his book, The Prince, with the broader geopolitical events of the Italian peninsula and the burgeoning religious wars in Europe, which ensconced his thought and work.
Professor Landon is not an apologist for The Prince. I would call him an intimate biographer of Nicolo, while drawing on the discipline of historiography to measure the ever evolving influence. He also draws on the work of others to bring greater depth and a broader lense to his subject matter.
The author spends about half of the time in this reading using statements such as "in this lecture we'll discuss....," "last lecture we discussed....," "next time we'll discuss....,""Nicola's little book....," and "isn't this shocking?"
The added value from a literal reading of The Prince is a good historical, personal, and social framing for the text and its author; however, this value is buried by the monotony described above. I had to stop half way because I couldn't get bear the authors meaningless dialogue any longer.
The teacher is so busy tripping over his own self-righteousness and clarifying his moral superiority to ever really go down what he calls "the rabbit hole" of Machiavelli. It takes less time to actually read the book and you'll get more out of it. The students at Northern Kentucky U must require constant grade-school-level reassurance to "don't try this at home"
"excellent overview of the Prince."
The lecture series supports understanding and gives context to The Prince, which is mostly impenetrable when read raw.
The delivery is pleasant.
The organisation of ideas flows logically and is very engaging.
"Didn't get it"
I get Machiavelli try to see the world as it is and do what he thought was necessary to get what he wanted, but how does that make him a genius? The author tells that Machiavelli is such a genius but does not show it.
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