Books that Matter: The Prince : The Great Courses: Intellectual History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor William Landon
  • Series: The Great Courses: Intellectual History
  • 11 hrs and 1 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Should leaders be feared or loved? Can dictators give rise to democracy? Should rulers have morals or wear them like a mask? Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince puts forth unsettling questions like these, whose answers redefined centuries of political wisdom. But what does it really mean to be Machiavellian?
These 24 lectures are more than just a close reading of one of the great books of Western history. They're a revealing investigation of the historical context of Machiavelli's philosophical views, his tumultuous relationship with Florentine politics, his reception by his contemporaries and by 20th-century scholars, and his lasting influence on everyone from William Shakespeare to Joseph Stalin.
Throughout the lectures, you'll dive deeply into the work's most important chapters to survey their main insights; read between the lines to uncover hidden meanings, inspirations, and ironies; learn how scholars have debated their historical inspiration and importance; and discover the author's startling imagery and sometimes beautiful language. Going beyond the commonly held vision of Renaissance Italy as a place of creative genius, Professor Landon reveals the drama and terror of Machiavelli's life and world, including his relationships to the city of Florence, the powerful Medici family, and the villainous Cesare Borgia (Machiavelli's ideal prince).
For those who have already heard The Prince, prepare to engage with the text on a deeper level than ever before. And for those who've always wanted to listen to this important book, this is your introduction to one man's revolutionary beliefs about achieving - and maintaining - power.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Delightful learning experience

I learned a lot of history and context and culture in this lecture series. I began with some knowledge but found the text too dense. I am better informed after this listen. The speaker's voice well modulated and paced.
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- Timothy J. Gannon

this was about the author

I first thought this would be a audio rendition of the book. instead it was about the author and the creation of this literary work. However it was a fascinating study of history.
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- RIO

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-19-2016
  • Publisher: The Great Courses