Discourses of Power and Desire in the Machiavelli-Vettori Letters of 1513-1515
AUTHOR: Najemy, John M.
PUBLISHER: Princeton University Press
Also available at Amazon.com
Between Friends offers the first extended close reading of the most famous epistolary dialogue of the Renaissance, the letters exchanged from 1513 to 1515 by NiccolÃ² Machiavelli and Francesco Vettori. John Najemy reveals the literary richness and theoretical tensions of the correspondence, the crucial importance of the dialogue with Vettori in Machiavelli's emergence as a writer and political theorist, and the close but complex relationship between the letters and Machiavelli's major works on politics. Unlike previous and mostly fragmentary treatments of the correspondence, this book reads the letters as a continuously developing, collaborative text in which problems of language and interpretation gradually emerge as the critical issues.
Najemy argues that Vettori's skeptical reaction to Machiavelli's first letters on politics provoked Machiavelli into a defense of language's power to represent the world, a notion that soon became the underlying assumption of The Prince. Later, and largely through an apparently whimsical exchange of letters on love and the foibles of eros, Vettori led Machiavelli to confront the power of desire in language, which opened the way for a different, essentially poetic, approach to writing about politics that surfaces for the first time in the pages of the Discourses on Livy.
PUBLICATION DATE: 12/5/1993
CATEGORY: History, Political Science