Antonia Nashe

Disgusting but Nice

Machiavelli in Hell

By

Harvester-Wheatsheaf 497pp £12.95 order from our bookshop

‘Strip yourselves naked, all of you,’ Machiavelli advised. Machiavelli in Hell is a portrait of a naked civil servant, whom we first encounter when he is busy ‘on the job’. That title refers to Machiavelli’s duties as a secretary-ambassador to the Italian government, though for the English reader it might have other connotations. As a Professor of Political Philosophy at Rutgers University, Sebastian de Grazia is admirably equipped to expose Machiavellian machinations , introducing us to such wonderful figures as Savonarola engaged in the Yes, Minister tactics of denying a denial. There are the Borgias, the Medicis, murder and mayhem in late medieval Florence, and the delightfully devilish character of old ‘Niccolo’ himself. What a glorious setting for a novel by Hilary Mantel or Rose Tremain.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Although he travels through time and space to find the best produce, his choices, delightfully, are not obvious.'… ,
    • RT : I regularly make purchases based on - it’s excellent.,
    • RT : I wrote about Yoko Ogawa's dreamlike, allegorical novel The Memory Police, newly published in English in a translat… ,
    • 'At this frankly apocalyptic moment for indigenous rights in Brazil, John Hemming’s "People of the Rainforest" is a… ,
    • 'I was dumbfounded by the view of the Berlin Wall from the eastern side. It seemed inconceivable that in under thre… ,
    • RT : Danger for ‘local’ staff, access in exchange for silence (and logos) - all sounds familiar in this fascinating look… ,
    • 'He has long been eclipsed by Vermeer, though his interiors are arguably more ambitious.' David Gelber on the Dutc… ,