Niccolo Machiavelli

“Niccolo Machiavelli,” Encounter, December 1954.


Since Machiavelli, a dimension has been amputated from man’s political existence.  The operation was a success; but there are stitches and scars, inevitably.  It is in Machiavelli we see them most clearly, for he does not hesitate to wave the stumps at us, in order to make a point.  Those riddles one finds in Machiavelli, those ambiguities and ironies—they mark the points where, the soul having been cut away, we are troubled with the illusion that “something” is still there.