Few texts have attracted more controversy over the centuries than "The Prince". This collection of essays offers a challenging sequence of close readings of Machiavelli's text. The essays, by international scholars and critics, form a rich mix of traditional and modern critical approaches, including feminist and deconstructive criticism. The volume consists of an introduction outlining some of the problems "The Prince" raises as a cultural text. Then follow seven essays, ranging from a discussion of its first reception and its concern with history and dialogue, through the text's concern with language, power and gender, on to discussions of its contradictions and its place in cultural history. A select bibliography and chronological table are also included.