A Renaissance Courtesy-Book

A Renaissance Courtesy-Book : Galateo of Manners and Behaviours

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This is a comprehensive book that looks at the Renaissance and discusses the culture in Italy during the time. From the intro: "ONE day, in Rome, about the middle of the sixteenth century, the Bishop of Sessa suggested to the Archbishop of Benevento that he write a treatise on good manners. Many books had touched the subject on one or more of its sides, but no single book had attempted to formulate the whole code of refined conduct for their time and indeed for all time. And who could deal with the subject more exquisitely than the Archbishop of Benevento? As a scion of two distinguished Florentine families (his mother was a Tornabuoni), as an eminent prelate and diplomatist, an accomplished poet and orator, a master of Tuscan prose, a frequenter of all the fashionable circles of his day, the author of licentious capitoli, and more especially as one whose morals were distinctly not above reproach, he seemed eminently fitted for the office of arbiter elegantiarum. So it was that some years later, in disfavour with the new Pope, and in the retirement of his town house in Venice and his villa in the Marca Trivigiana, with a gallant company of gentlemen and ladies to share his enforced but charming leisure, the Archbishop composed the little book xthat had been suggested by the Bishop of Sessa, and that, as a compliment to its "only begetter," bears as a title his poetic or academic name. There have been modern scholars who have wondered that so eminent a prelate, and so austere and passionate a lyric poet (for the licentious capitoli were best forgotten), "should have thought it worthy of his pains to formulate so many rules of simple decency," descending even to such trifles as the use of the napkin, the avoidance of immodest topics, and the details of personal apparel. It might, however, be pointed out that it is just because such distinguished men as our Archbishop formulated these details for us in the Renaissance that they have become part and parcel of our social code; that to quarrel with the Archbishop on this score were not unlike quarrelling with Euclid because he formulated laws of geometry which mathematicians nowadays leave to schoolboys; and that the serious preoccupation with manners, characteristic of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, made it possible for modern European society to form an organic social whole, with a model of the finished gentleman, more or less the same in all countries and all periods."
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Product details

  • Paperback | 58 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 3.56mm | 140.61g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 150845440X
  • 9781508454403