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The Prince.

The Prince. Niccolo Machiavelli. Tim Parks, translator. Penguin Classics. [pounds sterling]12.99 p.b. xlv + 124 pages. ISBN 978-1-846-14044-0. Machiavelli's guide to efficient government needs no introduction. It resembles one of those leaked New Labour emails advising ministers how to do something nasty without tarnishing the bright glow of their public image. At its heart is the simple question: can politics (and politicians) be judged by the same moral standards that apply to individuals or is politics sui generis with its own rules and norms? This new translation seeks to 'free the text from the archaisms and corrosive quaintness of older English versions' and 'to get to the essential meaning of the original'. While Mr Parks' observations about modern life and politics might put some readers off, his analysis of the translator's task is well worth the reading. There is also a useful glossary of proper names. (G.F.B.)

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Author:Machiavelli, Niccolo
Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 22, 2010
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