The Prince, By Niccolo Machiavelli, trs Tim Parks

Lesley McDowell
Sunday 05 July 2009 00:00
Comments

This is an excellent translation of The Prince by Parks, accessible and gripping without diluting Machiavelli's message one iota. His sense of this masterpiece as an essentially psychological work, one that looks at the effects of power of the mind, infuses his translation, and he never forgets its origins as a letter, as a means of conveying a message to a new ruler.

Parks shows, too, in his introduction, how amenable this text has been to both right- and left-wingers over the centuries: the right saw it as a warning about the power of the people, the left as a vindication.

Certainly, there are many passages, too,such as the one warning leaders of indecisiveness, which one suspects should be circled in red and handed to the present Prime Minister.

Machiavelli was showing how to achieve power and hold on to it: his ethical treatise was centred solely on this, which is what long frightened so many who were trying to impart notions of good and bad, not powerful and powerless.

I searched in vain for a section on MPs' expenses, though: financial probity seemingly wasn't important to leaders in the 16th century, either.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in