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Niccolo's Smile

A Biography of Machiavelli

Maurizio Viroli; Translated from the Italian by Antony Shugaar

Hill and Wang

In Niccolò's Smile, Maurizio Viroli brings to life the writer who was the founder of modern political thought. Niccolò Machiavelli's works on the theory and practice of statecraft are great classics, but, Viroli suggests, his greatest accomplishment is his robust philosophy of life—his deep beliefs about how one should conduct oneself as the modern citizen of a republic, as a responsible family member, as a good person. On these subjects Machiavelli wrote no books: the text of his philosophy is his life itself, a life that was filled with complexity, uncertainty, and drama.

Here is a man in all his complexity and brilliance—a narrative of Machiavelli's loves and friendships, the perils and rewards of being an adviser to princes, his travels and adventures, the challenges and dangers of both his youth and old age. Machiavelli was a charming and powerful figure, and he is revealed here for the first time, not as an intimidating icon of European political thought, but as the subtle, modern, charming and sagacious man.

REVIEWS

Praise for Niccolo's Smile

"Elegant and accessible ... Viroli provides [a straightforward chronological account of events] in the pellucid Italian original, whose gracefulness has not been lost in Antony Shugaar's excellent translation ... The dramatics events of Italian political life and Machiavelli's participation in them ... determine the rhythm of his story." - Mark Lilla, The Washington Post Book World

"A welcome antidote to the clichéd image of self-interested knavery for which [Machiavelli] has become known ... Viroli succeeds ... in offering a fascinating portrait." - Alexander Stille, The New York Times Book Review

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Maurizio Viroli; Translated from the Italian by Antony Shugaar

  • Maurizio Viroli has written many works on political philosophy, most notably Machiavelli. A professor of politics at Princeton University, he lives in Princeton, New Jersey, and Forli, Italy.
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Available Formats and Book Details

Niccolo's Smile

A Biography of Machiavelli

Maurizio Viroli; Translated from the Italian by Antony Shugaar

  • Trade Paperback

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Hill and Wang

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