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An insider's view of court life during the Renaissance, here is the handiwork of a 16th-century diplomat who was called upon to resolve the differences in a war of etiquette among the Italian nobility.
An insider's view of court life and culture during the Renaissance, 'The Book of the Courtier' is the handiwork of a diplomat who was called upon to resolve the differences in a war of etiquette among the Italian nobility. Set in 1507, when Castiglione was an attaché to the Duke of Urbino, the book consists of a series of fictional conversations between members of the Duke's retinue, who discuss the virtues and conduct of the ideal courtier. Translated into many languages after its 1528 publication, it became the ultimate resource on aristocratic manners, offering sixteenth-century readers a manual on how to behave. Today, it remains the most definitive account of life among the Renaissance nobility.
A bright star of the Italian Renaissance, Girolamo Cardano was an internationally-sought-after astrologer, physician, and natural philosopher, a creator of modern algebra, and the inventor of the universal joint. Condemned by the Inquisition to house arrest in his old age, Cardano wrote The Book of My Life, an unvarnished and often outrageous account of his character and conduct. Whether discussing his sex life or his diet, the plots of academic rivals or meetings with supernatural beings, or his deep sorrow when his beloved son was executed for murder, Cardano displays the same unbounded curiosity that made him a scientific pioneer. At once picaresque adventure and campus comedy, curriculum vitae, and last will, The Book of My Life is an extraordinary Renaissance self-portrait—a book to set beside Montaigne's Essays and Benvenuto Cellini's Autobiography.
“Since it is the case that you are now just beginning that journey that I have for the most part as you see completed, that is, the one through mortal life, and loving you so very much as I do, I have proposed to myself—as one who has been many places—to show you those places in life where, walking through them, I fear you could easily either fall or take the wrong direction.” So begins Galateo, a treatise on polite behavior written by Giovanni Della Casa (1503–56) for the benefit of his nephew, a young Florentine destined for greatness. In the voice of a cranky yet genial old uncle, Della Casa offers the distillation of what he has learned over a lifetime of public service as diplomat and papal nuncio. As relevant today as it was in Renaissance Italy, Galateo deals with subjects as varied as dress codes, charming conversation and off-color jokes, eating habits and hairstyles, and literary language. In its time, Galateo circulated as widely as Machiavelli’s Prince and Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier. Mirroring what Machiavelli did for promoting political behavior, and what Castiglione did for behavior at court, Della Casa here creates a picture of the refined man caught in a world in which embarrassment and vulgarity prevail. Less a treatise promoting courtly values or a manual of savoir faire, it is rather a meditation on conformity and the law, on perfection and rules, but also an exasperated—often theatrical—reaction to the diverse ways in which people make fools of themselves in everyday social situations. With renewed interest in etiquette and polite behavior growing both inside and outside the academy, the time is right for a new, definitive edition of this book. More than a mere etiquette book, this restored edition will be entertaining (and even useful) for anyone making their way in modern civilized and polite society, and a subtle gift for the rude neighbor, the thoughtless dinner guest, or the friend or relative in need of a refresher on proper behavior.
Controversy raged through England during the 1570-80s as Puritans denounced all manner of games & pastimes as a danger to public morals. Writers quickly turrned their attention to their own art and the first & most influential response came with Philip Sidney's Defense. Here he set out to answer contemporary critics &, with reference to Classical models of criticism, formulated a manifesto for English literature. Also includes George Puttenham's Art of English Poesy, Samuel Daniel's Defence of Rhyme, & passages by writers such as Ben Jonson, Francis Bacon & George Gascoigne.
Jacob Burckhardt published his classic and thought-provoking study, The Civilization of the Renaissance, in 1860. Discussion and controversy over his claims for the Renaissance have fueled debates ever since. Taking Burckhardt’s work as a starting point and subjecting it to the criticism of a new generation of scholars, the contributors to this book explore the continuing relevance of his study to our understanding of the Renaissance today. A particular concern of this volume is the 'revival of antiquity' that Burckhardt saw as one of the definitive features of Renaissance culture. This notion is explored through a reassessment of the role of humanism, with detailed case studies in music (Josquin Desprez), moral philosophy (Valla, Castiglione, More), and political thought (Machiavelli).

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