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Excerpts from the Florentine Histories Chapter Late Letters The selection of texts presented in this translation is intended to guide the reader through the arc of Machiavelli's political and literary life: from his early years as a civil servant for the Republic of Florence to his fall from favor upon the return of the Medici to Florence in , and his subsequent efforts to return to participation in the political life of his beloved city.


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These phases in Machiavelli's career are signaled, in broad strokes, by the inclusion of selections from his personal correspondence at three distinct moments: his early letters ; his midcareer letters ; and his late letters These clusters of letters serve to orient the reader to important events and relationships in Machiavelli's life, setting the stage for the translations of his political and literary works that follow between them.

By Machiavelli, who had experienced torture and exile from his beloved city, was at work—from his farm outside Florence—on The Prince , a treatise he hoped would restore him to favor with the Medici, as well as on the Discourses on Livy ; by , having found success with literary compositions such as The Mandrake , he was tasked with writing the history of his native city.

Niccolò Machiavelli

This work, the Florentine Histories , translated less frequently than The Prince , was Machiavelli's final major undertaking and is a centerpiece here: the reader is offered, through the inclusion of a substantial selection of chapters, the opportunity to observe not only how Machiavelli's political thought and theory of history come together as he attempts to make sense of Florence's past and future, but also how he continues to navigate the delicate and frustrating nuances of his uncertain position with respect to the Medici, whose own history is integral to that of the city.

The variety of texts, which include letters, political treatises, literary comedy, and history—some well-known, others familiar primarily to specialists—is intended to offer a broad picture of Machiavelli's range as a writer.


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  • He is analytical, complex, and precise in works such as The Prince and Florentine Histories ; adept at manipulating literary tropes and transposing political observations onto mercantile society in The Mandrake ; by turns incisive, witty, reflective, and warm in his familiar correspondence.

    The translation strives in its style to convey the meaning and spirit of Machiavelli's works to the modern reader while remaining as close as possible to Machiavelli's own vocabulary and prose. Key terms central to Machiavelli's political philosophy are identified and discussed in the glossary.

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    Overall, then, this translation retains as much as possible of the original grammatical structures, sentence breaks, and rhythm of Machiavelli's style. My intention has been to provide a fluid, accurate, and accessible translation without sacrificing Machiavelli's distinctive idiom. Bestead a literary analysis of the prince and his discourses by machiavelli validating that interstate interstate?

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