A century of "hate and coarse thinking": anti-Machiavellian Machiavellism in HG Wells' The New Machiavelli (1911)

Somos, Mark (2011) A century of "hate and coarse thinking": anti-Machiavellian Machiavellism in HG Wells' The New Machiavelli (1911). History of European Ideas, 37 (2). pp. 137-152. ISSN 0191-6599

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Abstract

Wells's The New Machiavelli (1911) offers an excellent case study of the use of anti-Machiavellian Machiavellism as both a philosophical and a rhetorical strategy. In Remington, Wells creates a protagonist who follows Machiavellian rules of behaviour and denounces those who do likewise. The novel is structured to show Remington's progress from an idealist refutation of Machiavellism, through a recognition of its necessity, to the formulation of a private and political method for the necessary pursuit of Machiavellian principles under the disguise of anti-Machiavellism, including trenchant criticisms of Fabians as anti-Machiavellian Machiavellians. These stages, culminating in complete personal and public failure, are reflected in Remington's party allegiances, and broadened by Wells into an account of British party ideologies around the turn of the twentieth century. Wells's rhetorical design for mapping and assessing anti-Machiavellian Machiavellism is paralleled by an exploration of that technique in himself, attested by the predominance of autobiographical elements in The New Machiavelli, and by similarities between Remington's and Wells's own deception of others and themselves. Far from incidental, anti-Machiavellian Machiavellism is the motif that unites the shifting party allegiances, political conceits and moral hypocrisies, and private and public failures of Wells, Remington, and of the period of British politics that they intend to encapsulate.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Depositing User: Mark Somos
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:27
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2012 14:18
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/26014
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