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After Machiavelli: "Re-writing" and the "Hermeneutic Attitude"

Barbara J. Godorecci

After Machiavelli inquires into the relationship between “re writing” (a dynamic process comprehending both creative newness and intelligence of historical profundity), the “hermeneutic attitude,” and Machiavelli’s poiesis. Specifically, it addresses these four questions: First, to what degree can we speak of intersection (inter-action) between these three spheres? Second, what common ground do all three actually share? Third, in what particular manner do the act of “re-writing” and the “hermeneutic attitude” manifest themselves in the writings of Niccolò Machiavelli? Last, what bearing does this have on the reader, heir to Machiavelli’s literary legacy?

Barbara Godorecci, in After Machiavelli, does a close reading of a cycle of Machiavellian re-writings characterized by three phases wherein the Secretary re-writes the works of others (Plautus’s Casina, Terence’s Andria, Livy’s Ab Urbe Condita, and Dante’s De Vulgari Eloquentia), his own texts (the story of Vitellozzo Vitelli and the events in Sinigaglia at the court of Cesare Borgia), and is then himself re-written (in Gramsci’s “the modern prince”).

Wilhelm Dilthey’s ideas on experience, history, and hermeneutics provide insight into Machiavelli’s participation in the dynamic process of re-writing as expression of his own “hermeneutic attitude”: one which supports and encourages the universal validity of interpretation and (thus) clears space for others who come/take/run After Machiavelli.

"... [a] close reading of selected texts of Machiavelli and an investigation of the process of 'rewriting' as an instrument for understanding the Florentine's use of the past to inform his judgments of the present. Also, ... [an] application of Wilhelm Dilthey's concepts of the interconnections of past history, contemporary experience, and future potential in which the work of one writer is revitalized by another at another time; the historian is both the product and maker of history.... often stimulating reading." Kenneth R. Bartlett, Sixteenth-Century Journal

For the complete review, see Sixteenth Century Journal 26.3 (1995): 726-27.

"This fluidity [of the hermeneutic attitude] allows readers through the centuries to return to old texts and discover 'truths' meaningful to their own experience.... Godorecci has cogently demonstrated both its validity and its usefulness as a critical tool." Salvatore Di Maria, Renaissance Quarterly

For the complee review, see Renaissance Quarterly 49.2 (Summer 1996): 393-95.

"… Godorecci's book makes for stimulating reading, because with the concepts of 're-writing' and 'hermeneutic attitude' it succeeds in linking together theory of cultural historical and text archaeology." —Gert Sørensen, Orbis Litterarum

For the complete review, see Orbis Litterarum 51 (1996): 191—94.

For more reviews, see
Romanische Forschunen 106 (1994): 391-92.
Il Gonfaloniere Spring 1994: 10.
The Tuscaloosa News 6 Mar. 1994.
Year's Work in Modern Language Studies 55 (1993): 507.

Barbara Godorecci, University of Alabama, has published on Machiavelli, contemporary poetry, and critical theory.

ISBN: 978-1-55753-246-6
1993. PSRL 3. viii, 212 pp. Paper $28.95

Information last updated April 14, 2011.

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