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Belfagor: The Devil Who Took a Wife

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Deaver Brown, Harvard AB & MBA

0 Hours 24 Minutes

Simply Magazine

April 2011

Audio Book Summary

Belfagor is the single novella remaining of Machiavelli's works. It was considered one of the finest of the period. Machiavelli was considered a skilled storyteller by all who knew him for, after all, stories form the basis of his most famous work, The Prince, and others: The Art of War and Discourses. His comic play The Mandrake Root was a spectacular success. Listen to and read all of these works to understand Machiavelli best.
"Belfagor" is a compact version of lessons from The Prince. In it, Pluto wants to figure out if sinners coming to him are correct in saying it was all their wives' fault. Belfagor is selected to go into the world and find out. Belfagor marries a beautiful woman who bankrupts him through extravagance and demands to fund her family. Belfagor must escape his creditors. A peasant with great cunning saves him and himself, and they avoid prison and hanging.
Professor Donald Fleming, a noted Harvard cultural historian said, "I encourage my students to read and write about five works of an author. It rounds out their thinking and avoids pigeonholing them. Once they have read Mark Twain's "Puddenhead Wilson" or Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night or Willa Cather's Alexander's Bridge, they know far more about the author. But after the third, fourth, and fifth books, they really know." So Simply has recorded five by Machiavelli: the witty Belfagor, the comic Mandrake Root, the shrewd Discourses, the wise Art of War, and his masterpiece, The Prince.

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