Like many inhabitants of booming metropolises, Machiavelli
alternated between love and hate for his native city. He often
wrote scathing remarks about Florentine political myopia,
corruption, and servitude, but also wrote about Florence with
pride, patriotism, and confident hope of better times. Despite the
alternating tones of sarcasm and despair he used to describe
Florentine affairs, Machiavelli provided a stubbornly persistent
sense that his city had all the materials and potential necessary
for a wholesale, triumphant, and epochal political renewal. As he
memorably put it, Florence was "truly a great and wretched
Mark Jurdjevic focuses on the Florentine dimension of
Machiavelli's political thought, revealing new aspects of his
republican convictions. Through "The Prince," "Discourses,"
correspondence, and, most substantially, "Florentine Histories,"
Jurdjevic examines Machiavelli's political career and relationships
to the republic and the Medici. He shows that significant and as
yet unrecognized aspects of Machiavelli's political thought were
distinctly Florentine in inspiration, content, and purpose. From a
new perspective and armed with new arguments, " A Great and
Wretched City" reengages the venerable debate about Machiavelli's
relationship to Renaissance republicanism. Dispelling the myth that
Florentine politics offered Machiavelli only negative lessons,
Jurdjevic argues that his contempt for the city's shortcomings was
a direct function of his considerable estimation of its unrealized
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