Strauss on the Prince

Harvey C. Mansfield, "Strauss on the Prince," The Review of Politics / Volume 75 / Special Issue 04 / Fall 2013 pp 641-665

Here is a study by Harvey Mansfield of what Leo Strauss in his marvelous book, Thoughts on Machiavelli (1958), tells us about Machiavelli’s The Prince, and how he tells it. The “how” is quite remarkable: his book is unlike any other book that has ever been written on Machiavelli. For the first time Machiavelli’s esotericism is not only alluded to or introduced but explained at length. In explaining, Strauss shows how he arrived at his discoveries in Machiavelli’s texts, teaching his readers the proper mixture of innocence and savvy. With his book Strauss gives a wholly new picture of an author who set store by being “wholly new.” All scholarly studies on Machiavelli can now be divided into those written before Strauss and those written after him, and the latter between those that take account of him in some fashion and those that willfully, or blithely, ignore him.

Review of Politics