14 Epistola della peste. Edizione critica secondo il ms. Banco rari 29
In May 1523 Machiavelli sent to his friend Lorenzo Strozzi, who was absent from Florence at the time, an account of the city overwhelmed by the plague. After Machiavelli’s death, Strozzi took the authorship of the work upon himself by tampering with the original autograph, which is why since the late nineteenth century up to the present the work has been considered to be by Strozzi. A wide-ranging historic, philological and critical investigation has now restored the paternity of the work to the author of ThePrince. This study has also cast light on the extraordinary literary interest of a topic such as the plague, which since antiquity has been adopted by writers as an emblem of tragedy. On the contrary Machiavelli, at times parodying Boccaccio, offers a comic-grotesque representation of plague-beset Florence with such original results as to make this epistolary account a little masterpiece of its kind. At the same time it brings to the fore an interesting and hitherto unknown chapter in the literary culture of the Florentine Renaissance.
Pasquale Stoppelli has taught Philology of Italian Literature at the La Sapienza University of Rome. With Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura he has published Commedia in versi. Da restituire a Niccolò Machiavelli (2018). Also on Machiavelli: La “Mandragola”: storia e filologia, Rome 2005 and Machiavelli e la novella di Belfagor. Saggio di filologia attributiva, Rome 2007.