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  #501  
Old Nov 23rd 2013, 10:18 AM
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The Prince is also mostly bullshit, based on Machiavelli's other writings which illustrate an entirely different perspective on the state and government.
So Machiavelli presents two different perspectives and you decide the conventional one is his true viewpoint and the unconventional one is bullshit?

On what basis do you make that assumption? I should think the 'context' of the authorship would suggest things were the other way around.
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  #502  
Old Nov 23rd 2013, 07:57 PM
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So Machiavelli presents two different perspectives and you decide the conventional one is his true viewpoint and the unconventional one is bullshit?

On what basis do you make that assumption? I should think the 'context' of the authorship would suggest things were the other way around.
There is a good deal of scholarship which contends that The Prince was written out of circumstantial expediency, whereas The Discourses represent his actual beliefs.

In short, the Prince is a how-to (maybe) for a dictator. The Discourses advocate republican values.
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  #503  
Old Nov 24th 2013, 09:30 AM
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There is a good deal of scholarship which contends that The Prince was written out of circumstantial expediency, whereas The Discourses represent his actual beliefs.

In short, the Prince is a how-to (maybe) for a dictator. The Discourses advocate republican values.
I don't agree with that interpretation - I think it is backwards.

There has always been great efforts to debunk-devalue what Machiavelli said in The Prince because it just isn't flattering of human nature or morality - this has been non-stop since the day it was published (it was on the Catholic 'black list' for hundreds of years). People desperately want to believe that humans are noble and capable of republicanism (and not nasty selfish brutes like The Prince makes them out to be).

Early 16th century Italy was wall-to-wall dictatorships (pretending to be republicans). That was reality and pretty much still is.

In other words, if we assume that the Machiavelli's Dscourses are Machiavelli's true analysis and the The Prince is just some temporary expediency, then we are left with Machiavelli as completely irrelevant. I think that interpretation is absurd. The Prince is the world that Machiavelli lived in and that's the world we still live in today.
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  #504  
Old Nov 24th 2013, 10:55 PM
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Handbook of Probability by Ionut Florescu and Ciprian A. Tudor.
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  #505  
Old Nov 24th 2013, 11:47 PM
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I don't agree with that interpretation - I think it is backwards.

There has always been great efforts to debunk-devalue what Machiavelli said in The Prince because it just isn't flattering of human nature or morality - this has been non-stop since the day it was published (it was on the Catholic 'black list' for hundreds of years). People desperately want to believe that humans are noble and capable of republicanism (and not nasty selfish brutes like The Prince makes them out to be).

Early 16th century Italy was wall-to-wall dictatorships (pretending to be republicans). That was reality and pretty much still is.

In other words, if we assume that the Machiavelli's Dscourses are Machiavelli's true analysis and the The Prince is just some temporary expediency, then we are left with Machiavelli as completely irrelevant. I think that interpretation is absurd. The Prince is the world that Machiavelli lived in and that's the world we still live in today.
Eh. I don't really see pursuing this as constructive, to be honest.
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  #506  
Old Nov 25th 2013, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: What are you reading?

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So Machiavelli presents two different perspectives and you decide the conventional one is his true viewpoint and the unconventional one is bullshit?

On what basis do you make that assumption? I should think the 'context' of the authorship would suggest things were the other way around.
Good question! If you aren't looking at the literature itself, or at it's historical context, or even at a combination of the two, how do you determine your interpenetration is correct?

I never said anything about the author's intent--I'm completely uninterested in the author's intent. But you did.

I'm confused.

Let's go back to your first example, and follow it to the logical conclusion.

You don't like Hemingway.

Why?

Well, you said that a "good piece of American literature ought say something meaningful about America, otherwise, it is just "literature" and not "American literature."

Considering this criteria is, at least a little, less arbitrary and subjective than "my own taste," I'm stuck with only using that. (Plus, you're Canadian, so what would you know )

OK, so, Hemingway, a post-war ex-pat who writes extensively about the lives and situations of post-war ex-pats would, in theory, say something incredibly meaningful about America and the state of American citizens after the Great War.

Looking at Hemingway's style we see a shift away from the grandiose verbosity of years prior (like good old James), into that shell-shocked articulation of concrete scenarios. This, we can argue, lead us directly into the hard-boiled era of the 1940s. This literary shift says a great deal about the work on it's own--creating atmosphere and setting tone--and says a great deal about the subject matter.

You say you look at the actual result of the thing--but how do you determine that? Because the way you're talking about it, it seems exactly like you're referring to the text as an isolated entity. Which is fine--that's a perfectly OK way to look at a text. It's a partial knowledge, but who am I to judge what limitations you put on your own analysis? You're the one putting 100% value on content, not me.

You say of Mach's The Prince that "the content of the book is essentially timeless and transcends the author or the author's time and place of authorship." We could also say this about Hemingway's war veterans suffering from PTSD.

Your taste is subjective, but you're objectively calling multiple works/authors to be "unreadable/mediocre/shit when one actually reads them." Again, this is completely subjective.

But who am I to question you? After all, once again you've prefaced your subjective opinion with a shout-out to your education and experience: "I've certainly read more than a few in that category."
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  #507  
Old Nov 26th 2013, 06:37 PM
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Default Re: What are you reading?

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But who am I to question you? After all, once again you've prefaced your subjective opinion with a shout-out to your education and experience: "I've certainly read more than a few in that category."
I was all set to reply to your posted questions, until I got to this last bit and decided not to bother.
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  #508  
Old Nov 26th 2013, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: What are you reading?

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Handbook of Probability by Ionut Florescu and Ciprian A. Tudor.
Seems interesting. But too bloody expensive.
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  #509  
Old Dec 17th 2013, 07:54 PM
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Default Re: What are you reading?

I did a little inventory and found out that I currently have 34 unfinished books, i.e. books I once started but never finished. Some go back decades
That's one New Year's resolution chosen.
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  #510  
Old Dec 17th 2013, 08:48 PM
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I did a little inventory and found out that I currently have 34 unfinished books, i.e. books I once started but never finished. Some go back decades
That's one New Year's resolution chosen.
I have personally found that when I get halfway through a book and stop reading it, just leave it be and forget about it. Coming back to the book only reminds you why you stopped reading it the first time around. And the books never, ever improve. If the first half of the book sucks, the second half is likely to be even worse.
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