Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince (Revisited Challenge)


The Prince (Dover Thrift Editions) By Niccolò Machiavelli, N. H. Thompson | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

 
Title and Author(s):  Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince
Release Date: September 21, 1992
ISBN: 978-0486272740
Pages: 80
Publisher: Dover Publications; Reprint edition
Source: (Barnes & Noble Classics) 

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Reasons for Reading:  I first read Machiavelli as a high school World History student. I read The Prince again in college, struck by writers’ love and devotion to the city-state of Florence. As one of the winners in the Revisited Challenge, I downloaded a copy to my Nook.

Summary: Machiavelli wrote The Prince as a how-to guide to ruling. He wrote these instructions for Lorenzo de’ Medici, the Florentine ruler of Machiavelli’s day. Machiavelli began writing it in 1513 and finished it a year later. However, The Prince was not published until after Machiavelli’s death in 1532. Within his instruction guide, Machiavelli advised de’ Medici to promote his own interests, cover his backside, and create a stable government. In his estimation, Machiavelli pursues an argument purely based on logos; negating the need for ethos or pathos.

When Machiavelli wrote The Prince, Florence faced much political upheaval. While Machiavelli wanted de’ Medici to remain on the throne, this prince did not heed Machiavelli’s advice. In 1559, the pope included The Prince on his Index of Prohibited Books.”

One Thing I Learned from this book: While not mentioned in this treatise, Lorenzo de’ Medici was the father of the infamous Catherine de’ Medici. He passed on when she Catherine was twenty-one days old. I wonder how she would’ve taken Machiavelli’s instruction.

What I Liked: His straightforward prose leave little to the imagination. I haven’t felt a need to read commentaries to elucidate Machiavelli’s meaning(s) in his work. Also, I appreciate his sense of patriotism, love, and devotion to Florence.

What I Disliked: I found his lack of credence to ethos and pathos unrealistic. It’s the same as a rude person saying “I just tell the truth. It’s your problem that you’re sensitive.”

RR - Yellow  Rainbow Rating: Yellow – Parental Guidance for Kids Under 13

Song: Carmina Burana ~ O Fortuna | Carl Orff ~ André Rieu

You might also like:

  • Voltaire’s Candide
  • Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan 
  • Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto 
  • John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty 
  • John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government 

For more, check out the following sites:

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Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex


Eugenides, J. (2002). Middlesex. New York: Picador. 9780312422158

I actually read this book in Summer 2007 whilst between semesters in grad school. It was Oprah’s pick at the time and I read it at warp speed. Unfortunately, I never reviewed the book. Seeing a copy of Middlesex for sale by the Friends of Freeman (HCPL), I bought it. I took a more leisurely pace began rereading it after Christmas 2010.

Cal Stephanides, a forty-one year old who identifies himself as a man, climbs his gnarly family tree. He possesses a recessive gene, 5-alpha-reductase deficiency, which made him appear female at the time of his birth. Believing him to be a girl, his parents named their “daughter” Calliope and called her “Callie”. After learning about the syndrome as an adolescent, Calliope changes his name to the masculine name, Cal. Taking on his Greek-American genealogy, Cal tells the story of a dirty little secret of his grandparents, Desdemona and Lefty, which shapes Calliope into Cal.

Upon hearing Oprah selected a book about hermaphrodite, I didn’t imagine myself reading this book. Yet, summer doldrums beset me and I stayed up several nights in a row reading Middlesex. The language Eugenides implements relates this story in a beautifully visual way. He crammed so much between the covers. Throughout, I learned more of the Smyrna fire, Prohibition-Era Detroit, the Nation of Islam, and the Pleasant Valley of Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Eugenides encapsulates much of the contemporary life of Cal in Foreign Service Berlin as well. I enjoyed the mysteries he creates in his brother Chapter Eleven and catalyst The Obscure Object. I laughed at Desdemona’s work for the Nation of Islam and Aunt Lina’s droll tones. Above all else, I considered the sex versus gender argument in a fresh light.

Four and a Half Out of Five Pearls

Song: “Dancing in the Streets” by Martha & the Vandellas

Places: Mt. Olympus, Smyrna, Turkey, Greece, New York City, Detroit, San Francisco, Germany

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With Middlesex being The Detroit Novel, I must link the following Super Bowl Ad:

For More on Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex, please click on the following links:

Voltaire’s Candide


 

*1001 Books Book

 

Voltaire, & Donnelly, D. (1986). Candide. Charlotte Hall, MD: Recorded Books.

Candide is the illegitimate nephew of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh of Westphalia. Yet, Candide lives in the Baron’s castle is under the tutelege of Pangloss.  Thanks to his optimistic tutor, Pangloss, Candide thinks everything is hunky-dory wonderful.  Life is good for Candide until he kisses the Baron’s lovely daughter, the Lady Cunégonde. Candide then finds himself out in the cold, cruel world with no skills for survival. Throughout the book, Candide experiences out-of-this world tortures and deprivations. Will Candide maintain his “glass is half-full” optimism, only the end will tell us.

A precursor to Pollyanna, Candide seems set upon thinking the best will prevail. Yet, catastrophe pursues him and those he knows. Obviously, life isn’t so grand. While those around him adapt, Candide never seems to get the hang of the “real world.” He’s just a good, ignorant guy. Often, the adage “No good deed goes unpunished” rules the life of Candide.

This was pretty good; a tongue in cheek sort of tale which highlights the absurdity of philosophical bents towards optimism. Of course, pessimism isn’t what’s needed, either. No, what is a essential is a balance of happy and sad.

Three out of Five Pearls