Cover: Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy, from Harvard University PressCover: Virtue Politics in HARDCOVER

Virtue Politics

Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy

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Product Details

HARDCOVER

$45.00 • £36.95 • €40.50

ISBN 9780674237551

Publication Date: 12/17/2019

Academic Trade

768 pages

6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches

Belknap Press

World

Hankins…painstakingly demonstrates that the greatest virtue in civic life—and the ultimate factor determining political stability—has always been principled moderation, whatever the epoch.—Robert D. Kaplan, The Wall Street Journal

A worthy contribution to the field of Renaissance studies.Publishers Weekly

Virtue Politics is suffused with eloquence, and truly innovative. James Hankins argues that Renaissance humanists worked for political regimes of vastly different types. What was important to them was that leaders put the interests of the state—its stability, peace, and flourishing—before their own more immediate enrichment, or desire for power, or other selfish imperatives. In short, they believed that you could and should judge the moral character of a state and of the people who ran it. The concept of ‘virtue politics’ offers a helpful corrective to prior attempts to situate Renaissance thinkers into teleologically conceived narratives of the history of political theory. Not only is this one of the most important books written on humanist political thought, it is in many ways the first, given the unique way Hankins frames his project. It will change the way scholars conceive of the history of political thought.—Christopher Celenza, author of Machiavelli

James Hankins’s masterwork takes us from Petrarch’s struggles against a decadent academic clerisy to Machiavelli and Confucius. But the central narrative thread never loosens: that character and virtue are the anchors of all healthy political systems, whether democratic or not. The lessons for today are clear and profound.—Robert D. Kaplan, author of The Revenge of Geography

The summation of a life’s work, however magnificent, is seldom relevant once finally published. But James Hankins’s Virtue Politics—his long-awaited, historically rich, philosophically profound investigation of Italian Renaissance political thought—could not have appeared at a more opportune moment. Hankins convincingly argues that the humanist movement was a pedagogical project intent on perfecting the souls of both citizens and leaders, thus facilitating a rich civic life conducive to liberty and justice. His recovery of the soulcraft and statecraft of Petrarch, Bruni, Boccaccio, Poggio, and others is indispensable—indeed, mandatory—reading in an age characterized by disaffected citizenries as well as ever more venal, craven, and malicious leaders.—John P. McCormick, author of Machiavellian Democracy

James Hankins is one of the world’s most distinguished authorities on the political thought of the Italian Renaissance, and Virtue Politics is a truly monumental work of scholarship, destined to leave its imprint for decades to come. It is—to a quite remarkable degree—a history of newly discovered things: new writers, new texts, new ideas, new connections.—Peter Stacey, University of California, Los Angeles

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