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Best Italian Novels
68th out of 130 books — 26 voters
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Jan 22, 2015 James rated it really liked it
Sixteenth century Italy is remembered as the time of Machiavelli, but it also produced another noteworthy author of maxims and other works in Francesco Guicciardini (March 6, 1483 - May 22, 1540) . He was an Italian historian and statesman, a friend and critic of Niccolò Machiavelli, and is considered one of the major political writers of the Italian Renaissance. Guicciardini is considered as the Father of Modern History, due to his use of government documents to verify his "History of Italy. Hi ...more
One of the wisest books I've ever read. Guicciardini, a Florentine diplomat and friend of Machiavelli, collected his thoughts on self-interest in service of the powerful in this series of ricordi. They give the feeling of being developed through observation and experience rather than by any attempt at a philosophy or a system. Some of the topics covered include the role of boldness, luck, and deception in achieving success; the value of reputation and ways to maintain it; how people are driven m ...more
"È certo gran cosa che tutti sappiamo avere a morire, tutti viviamo come se fussimo certi avere sempre a vivere; non credo sia la ragione di questo perché ci muova piú quello che è innanzi agli occhi e che apparisce al senso, che le cose piú lontane e che non si veggono; perché la morte è propinqua, e si può dire che per la esperienzia quotidiana ci apparisca a ogni ora; credo proceda perché la natura ha voluto che noi viviamo secondo che ricerca el corso o vero ordine di questa machina mondana, ...more
This was a skim for me - I was just trying to get a general sense of how Guicciardini differed from Machiavelli, and the salient differences I cared about were 1- an emphasis on hope as power, rather than fear and 2- a sharp distinction (that Machiavelli doesn't make) between man and men , the former are inherently good, while the latter is horrible, mad, and beast-like. Some of the maxims/reflections occasionally veer into quite personal territory, which is uncommon for the genre of prince/g ...more
Oct 22, 2014 Mark Singer rated it it was amazing
Francesco Guicciardini was a 16th century Florentine diplomat and historian who collected his observations on politics for posterity. The "Ricordi" are an excellent window on the world of Renaissance Italy, and on the foibles of humans in power.