Cover image for Feminist Interpretations of Niccolò Machiavelli Edited by Maria  J. Falco

Feminist Interpretations of Niccolò Machiavelli

Edited by Maria J. Falco

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$51.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-02389-2

440 pages
6" × 9"
2004

Re-Reading the Canon

Feminist Interpretations of Niccolò Machiavelli

Edited by Maria J. Falco

“This volume of 14 essays makes a valuable contribution to three related academic fields: history of feminist thought, history of political thought in North America, and the general history of political thought. In her Introduction, editor Maria Falco has done an excellent job of bringing her readers up to date on the evolving state of the feminist critiques of Machiavelli. . . . The new possibilities that Feminist Interpretations of Nicolò Machiavelli has opened up are challenging and rewarding. Young scholars who have the mental flexibility and the time to reread, to rethink, and to reinterpret him should take full advantage of them.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Subjects
Diplomat, bureaucrat, and practical politician, Niccolò Machiavelli served as Second Secretary to the Republic of Florence in the early sixteenth century and became the first major political thinker in the western tradition to make a complete break with the Aristotelian model of politics as a branch of ethics. While The Prince is his most famous work, grounding his reputation as the progenitor of "Realpolitik," his many other writings have contributed to a more complex and broader image of the man and his political thought. Thus in recent years Machiavelli has come to be seen as a republican and a proto-liberal by some mainstream political theorists, and as an obfuscator of traditional values and ideologies, including gender roles, by feminists and non-feminists alike.

The contributors to this volume, grappling with questions about the position of women in political society, investigate whether or not Machiavelli was truly a misogynist and a proto-fascist or instead a proto-feminist and a democratic republican. Among the themes they explore are the implications of such dichotomies as Fortuna and virtù, the public and the private, nature and reason, ends and means, functionality and the common good, as well as the importance of the military to the socialization of citizens, particularly women, to civic life, and the social construction of gender. Some of the contributors even consider the possibility that Machiavelli's approach to ethics provides a special insight that feminists, and women generally, might explore to their benefit.

Besides the editor, the contributors are Wendy Brown, Jane Jaquette, Donald McIntosh, Melissa Matthes, Vesna Marcina, Martin Morris, Cary Nederman, Andrea Nicki, Mary O'Brien, Hanna Pitkin, Arlene Saxonhouse, John Shin, R. Claire Snyder, and Catherine Zuckert.

“This volume of 14 essays makes a valuable contribution to three related academic fields: history of feminist thought, history of political thought in North America, and the general history of political thought. In her Introduction, editor Maria Falco has done an excellent job of bringing her readers up to date on the evolving state of the feminist critiques of Machiavelli. . . . The new possibilities that Feminist Interpretations of Nicolò Machiavelli has opened up are challenging and rewarding. Young scholars who have the mental flexibility and the time to reread, to rethink, and to reinterpret him should take full advantage of them.”
“Falco provides a helpful introduction with a brief biography of Machiavelli and sets the context for the developing trends in feminist interpretation of Machiavelli. . . . From this volume it is clear that feminist scholars are not in accord in their view of Machiavelli, echoing other disagreements concerning his work. Feminist Interpretations provides a useful compilation of the diverse feminist approaches to Machiavelli and shows an added complexity to his thought not found in mainstream accounts. As such the volume fulfills the goal of its series in expanding our appreciation of the canon and providing an introduction to feminist readings of a major thinker.”
“This edited volume will be helpful for scholars of Machiavelli who may not be well versed in feminist theory, but, more significantly, it can be of use to feminist theorists developing approaches to politics.”

Maria J. Falco is Professor Emerita of Political Science at DePauw University. She has published five previous books, including Feminist Interpretations of Mary Wollstonecraft (Penn State, 1996).

Contents

Preface by Nancy Tuana

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. The Modernity of Machiavelli

Donald McIntosh

2. Meditations on Machiavelli

Hanna Fenichel Pitkin

3. Niccolò Machiavelli: Women as Men, Men as Women, and the Ambiguity of Sex

Arlene W. Saxonhouse

4. Renaissance Italy: Machiavelli

Wendy Brown

5. The Root of the Mandrake: Machiavelli and Manliness

Mary O’Brien

6. Fortune Is a Woman—But So Is Prudence: Machiavelli’s Clizia

Catherine H. Zuckert

7. Machiavelli and the Citizenship of Civic Practices

R. Claire Snyder

8. The Seriously Comedic, or Why Machiavelli’s Lucrezia is not Livy’s Virtuous Roman

Melissa M. Matthes

9. Rhetoric, Violence, and Gender in Machiavelli

Cary J. Nederman and Martin Morris

10. Beyond Virtù

John Juncholl Shin

11. Machiavelli, Civic Virtue, and Gender

Vesna Marcina

12. Rethinking Machiavelli: Feminism and Citizenship

Jane S. Jaquette

13. Machiavelli and Feminist Ethics

Andrea Nicki

Appendix A Summary of La Mandragola

Appendix B Summary of Clizia

Selected Bibliography

Index

Also of Interest

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