marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

The Book of the Courtier

The Book of the Courtier by Baldassare Castiglione

A book to read to learn about the Renaissance and how they thought.

It features conversation among courtiers discussing what the ideal courtier should be like.  How, ideally, he should be  noble birth; others dispute that many marvelous courtiers have risen from humble stations, but the original speaker maintains that since they are of course discussing the ideal, noble birth will help him in many respects.  What he should study.  Eloquence and avoiding affectation.  What the ideal lady should be like -- with many disputations about chastity and which sex is better at it, and more -- and how love should proceed between a courtier and a lady.  (Some hold that a lady should only love when it is possible to marry; others, not.)

A definite period piece but useful for anyone interested in the period.
Tags: ethos, history reviews: 15th-18th centuries

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