Cover: A Great and Wretched City: Promise and Failure in Machiavelli’s Florentine Political Thought, from Harvard University PressCover: A Great and Wretched City in HARDCOVER

A Great and Wretched City

Promise and Failure in Machiavelli’s Florentine Political Thought

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$58.50 • £46.95 • €52.50

ISBN 9780674725461

Publication Date: 03/10/2014


Wonderfully researched and deeply persuasive, this book offers us an entirely new vision of the Florentine chancellor as a man dedicated in his later years to radically reshaping his broken world. Jurdjevic not only reinterprets the man himself, but challenges our very understanding of the relationship between Renaissance individuals and the society around them.—Michael Martoccio, H-Net Reviews

Mark Jurdjevic’s A Great and Wretched City is a wonderful contribution to Machiavelli studies. It gives Machiavelli’s ‘Florentine writings’ their proper due, and appropriately tempers the ill-considered and much too prevalent overemphasis on Machiavelli’s admiration for Rome. The book is astoundingly erudite, penetrating analytically, and generally written with a confident elegance that makes it an unusually accessible piece of high-end scholarship.—John P. McCormick, University of Chicago

Jurdjevic convincingly argues that two of Machiavelli’s late works, The Florentine Histories and Discourse on Florentine Affairs, constitute the culmination of a change in Machiavelli’s political thinking beginning with the Discourses on Livy. Pessimistic about the potential for individual action, Machiavelli concludes that collective structures and institutions, purposely designed to limit the impact of individual political activity, can create and preserve republican government.—Ronald G. Witt, Duke University

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