Call for abstract: Machiavelli and the anatomy of passions

Valentina Serio's picture
Call for Papers
January 31, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Early Modern History and Period Studies, Italian History / Studies, Literature, Philosophy, Political History / Studies

Call for abstract

Machiavelli and the anatomy of passions


Ambition, anger, desire, fear, hatred, love: these are just some of the passions that inhabit the works of Niccolò Machiavelli. Contrary to a long-standing stereotype that depicts him as the founder of modern political science, Machiavelli is anything but a thinker who believes only in cool-headed reason. He is well aware that emotional factors perform a key function in life, and his major writings cannot but reflect this awareness. We may say, for the sake of simplicity, that Machiavelli's political and historical works display this function regarding the public sphere, whereas the comedies show its importance in relation to private and family affair. However, it is hardly deniable that Machiavelli emphasizes, either implicitly or explicitly, the role of passions in establishing and/or re-establishing social, political, and military hierarchies; as well as their power to push humans to act in one way or another, sometimes regardless of the consequences and even to detriment of their own good. Indeed, Machiavelli's thinking is rooted not only in his readings and first-hand experiences, but also in  the territory of passions, and this territory is waiting to be properly explored and mapped.

Indeed, in recent years scholars have been paying more attention to the power of passions in Machiavelli's thought. However meaningful, these scholars have mostly dealt with a relatively small range of passions. The proposed volume aims to take this inquiry further and gather essays that focus on a specific passion in one or more of Machiavelli's works. The contributors should examine the various parts of Machiavelli's production (including his poetry, chancery writings, diplomatic letters, and the private correspondence) from different perspective, fields, and methodologies.

The volume will be proposed for publishing to Brill, within the series "Thinking in Extremes: Machiavellian Studies"; contacts with the series' editors have already been established.

Ideally, the essays will concern the following passions:

  • Fear
  • Hope
  • Discontent
  • Desire/appetite
  • Envy
  • Revenge
  • Love
  • Hate
  • Pity (as pietas)
  • Pain
  • Pleasure
  • Lust
  • Anger
  • Disdain
  • Pride
  • Ambition
  • Suspect
  • Mirth/ridiculous
  • Shame

Proposals should include your contact information (name, address, telephone, email, academic affiliation), short bio (100 words), the title of the essay, and essay abstract (500 words).

Proposals will be accepted only in English.


Deadline for essay proposal: January 31st, 2022

Deadline for essay submission: May 31st, 2022


Please send your essay proposal to:

For any information request please contact:



Contact Info: 

Alessio Panichi, Johns Hopkins Unviersity 

Valentina Serio, Università di Pisa