The Art of Power

The Art of Power : Machiavelli, Nietzsche and the Making of Aesthetic Political Theory

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The Art of Power is a challenge to traditional political theory. Diego A. von Vacano examines the work of Machiavelli, arguing that he establishes a new, aesthetic perspective on political life. He then proceeds to carry out the most extensive analysis to date of an important relationship in political theory: that between the thought of Machiavelli and Friedrich Nietzsche. Arguing that these two theorists have similar aims and perspectives, this work uncovers the implications of their common way of looking at the human condition and political practice to elucidate the phenomenon of the persistence of aesthetic, sensory cognition as fundamental to the human experience, particularly to the political life. By exploring this relationship, The Art of Power makes a significant contribution to the growing interest in the intersection of aesthetic theory and political philosophy as well as in interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives on political more

Product details

  • Hardback | 230 pages
  • 154.9 x 231.1 x 22.9mm | 453.6g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739110888
  • 9780739110881

Review quote

Diego A. von Vacano's book fills an important hole in political theory literature. If one can say that Machiavelli inaugurates a certain modern conception of politics, one can also say that Nietzsche announces and analyzes its limits and its end. Von Vacano shows that both thinkers share a similar conception of the political and of human agency. The analyses are always sharp and the argument is clear and convincing. If, as Burckhardt argued, the state can be thought of as a work of art, von Vacano shows us what this actually entails. He also shows us why Nietzsche has to be understood as having a conception of and concern for the political. -- Tracy B. Strong, University of California, San Diego An interpretation of Machiavelli and Nietzsche that is crucial for understanding the post-9/11 universe. The link between modern atheism, aesthetic political theory, and the sense of the tragic is drawn with force and clarity. Diego von Vacano has made a major contribution to contemporary political thinking. -- Anthony Parel, University of Calgary The Art of Power is a provocative study that incites readers to consider the place of spectacle and aesthetic experience in the political writings of Machiavelli-and therefore, modern politics, as well. -- John P. McCormick, Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago At last a book that focuses not on how politics ought to be but on how politics is through the guidance of two excellent mentors: Machiavelli and Nietzsche. -- Maurizio Viroli, Princeton University Recommended. CHOICE ... Von Vacano has broken valuable ground, exhibits intimacy with a wide sweep of Western political thought, and marries Nietzsche to his beloved Niccolo (at long last!) by way of the book's greatest strength: close, novel interpretations of paired texts mined productively to illuminate one another. Political Theory This book is admirable for its large ambitions...Von Vacano has boldly brought our attention to a serious subject and has earnestly raised the question of whether and how Machiavelli and Nietzsche can help us to grapple with. Perspectives on Politics, March 2008 Vol 6, No. 1 Vacano's book focuses on a very important but often neglected connection in political theory, that between Machiavelli and Nietzsche... Vacano's book is a serious attempt to refound modern political thought, or to rethink its foundations. It is a very important work in two respects: firstly in highlighting the connection between Machiavelli and Nietzsche...and secondly in focusing on aesthetic dimensions of politics. Redescriptions, 2008, Vol 12 The author...offers a unique aesthetic political theory, one intended to address the very different reality of our modern age...Von Vacano's book deserves praise... -- Jeffrey Church, University of Houston Review of Politics, 2009, Vol 71show more

About Diego A. von Vacano

Diego A. von Vacano is assistant professor of political science at Texas A&M more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: Art, Power, and Knowledge Chapter 3 Machiavelli's Ass and the Poetics of Political Life Chapter 4 Tragic Machiavelli: The Agon of the Heroic Prince Chapter 6 Nietzsche's Machiavellism Chapter 7 A Machiavellian Zarathustra: The Aesthetic Politics of Value Creation Chapter 9 The Form of Aesthetic Political Theory Chapter 10 Aesthetic Political Theory and Modernity Chapter 11 Conclusion: Spectacular Politicsshow more

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