Learning about Politics from the Renaissance

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Would George W. Bush have been considered likely to get into politics in Florence during the Renaissance? Would Saddam Hussein have been considered a good role model in 1513?

Would George W. Bush have been considered likely to get into politics in Florence during the Renaissance? Would Saddam Hussein have been considered a good role model in 1513? The answers might be found in Machiavelli’s masterpiece The Prince. New York University’s Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò is pleased to present an important new translation of The Prince by William J. Connell on Monday, September 26, 2005 - 6:00 PM, at Casa Italiana, 24 W 12th Street, New York. Admission is free and open to the public.

Widely read for its insights into history and politics, The Prince is a provocative work from the Italian Renaissance, an extreme book for extreme times. Based on Machiavelli’s observations concerning the effectiveness of both ancient and modern statesmen, the rules for governing set forth in his manual were considered radical and harsh by his contemporaries and they are still thought to be shocking by many today. The new translation offers a more accurate rendering of Machiavelli’s original Italian, accompanied by numerous historical documents, many of them never translated into English, concerning the writing and publication of The Prince and how it was read by Machiavelli’s contemporaries. In his lucid introductory essay, Connell offers fresh insights into Machiavelli’s life, the meaning of his work, the context in which it was written, and its influence over time.

Along with Connell (Seton Hall University) two major Renaissance scholars will be speaking: Anthony Grafton (Princeton University) and Marcello Simonetta (Wesleyan University). The speakers will highlight the volume’s discoveries while also discussing recent advances in Machiavelli scholarship.

“Machiavelli was a powerful and innovative writer of Italian prose.” says Connell. “Nowadays Western society has arrived at a certain acceptance of and even level of comfort with the Florentine thinker. Yet, there are many respects in which his work remains profoundly disturbing.”

For information about the event, please contact: Press contact Daniela Puglielli, ACCENT PR at 908 212 7846, or Letizia La Rosa, Assistant Director, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at 212-998-3862.

About Casa Italiana:

Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, home of the Department of Italian Studies at New York University, was born in 1990 thanks to a generous and handsome donation from the Baroness Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimò. It was founded with the specific intent of spreading Italian culture outside of its national boundaries, with the belief that Italian culture belongs not only to the Italians but to whomever has the desire to get to know more about it.

Casa Italiana presents a wide spectrum of cultural programs dealing with literature, cinema and political and social reflection that are free and open to the public. For more information please visit http://www.nyu.edu/pages/casaitaliana.

About the speakers:

William J. Connell, Ph.D., Professor of History, holds the Joseph M. and Geraldine C. La Motta Chair in Italian Studies at Seton Hall University, where he directs the Italian Studies Program and the Charles and Joan Alberto Institute for Italian Studies. He received his B.A. summa cum laude from Yale University, and his Ph.D. in early modern European History from the University of California at Berkeley. He has been a Fulbright Scholar to Italy, a Giannini Italian-American Scholar, a Fellow at the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies/Villa I Tatti, and a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of the History of Ideas and Renaissance Quarterly. His books include La città dei crucci: fazioni e clientelismo in uno stato repubblicano del ‘400; Florentine Tuscany: Structures and Practices of Power (co-edited); and the forthcoming Sacrilege and Redemption in Renaissance Florence (co-authored) . In recent years he has lectured at the University of Florence, the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Anthony Grafton teaches the history of early modern Europe at Princeton University. He studied at the University of Chicago and at University College London, where he worked with Arnaldo Momigliano. His books include Joseph Scaliger ;The Footnote: A Curious History ; and Leon Battista Alberti.

Marcello Simonetta is Assistant Professor of Italian at Wesleyan University. He has published many articles on Renaissance Italy's literary and political history. His book Rinascimento segreto: il mondo del Segretario da Petrarca a Machiavelli (Franco Angeli, 2004) is in the process of being translated into English. He is currently writing a book in English about his discoveries concerning the Pazzi Conspiracy.


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Daniela Puglielli
908 212 7846
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