The Book of the Courtier

The Book of the Courtier

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Overview

The Book of the Courtier (Il Cortegiano), describing the behaviour of the ideal courtier (and court lady) was one of the most widely distributed books in the 16th century. It remains the definitive account of Renaissance court life. This edition, Thomas Hoby's 1561 English translation, greatly influenced the English ideal of the "gentleman".

Baldesar Castiglione was a courtier at the court of Urbino, at that time the most refined and elegant of the Italian courts. Practising his principles, he counted many of the leading figures of his time as friends, and was employed on important diplomatic missions. He was a close personal friend of Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, better known as Raphael, who painted the sensitive portrait of Castiglione on the cover of this edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781781391860
Publisher: Benediction Books
Publication date: 09/27/2012
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 380
Sales rank: 600,573
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

Baldesar Castiglione was born in 1478, a member of an ancient Italian aristocratic family. He received a thorough humanistic education, acquiring a refined appreciation of art. He was essentially a courtier, and his literary activities were spare-time occupations. In 1504, after an unhappy period in Mantuan employ, he entered the service of Guidobaldo of Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino. The ensuing years were the most satisfying of his life. He enjoyed the confidence of the Duke, who frequently entrusted him with important missions, and in his leisure moments he participated in the literary and intellectual activities of the court, then one of the most brilliant in Italy.

After Guidobaldo's death in 1508, he remained in the service of the new Duke, Francesco Maria della Rovere, becoming, in 1513, resident ambassador in Rome. In 1515 the expulsion of Francesco Maria from Urbino deprived him of a job, and in the years 1516-19 he lived quietly on his estates near Mantua. His major work is The Book of the Courtier. He also wrote a small number of excellent poems both in Latin and Italian. In 1519 he returned to Rome, as Mantuan ambassador, and after further activities on behalf of his Mantuan masters entered Papal service in 1524. From that date until his death in 1592 he was Papal Nuncio in Spain.
George Bull is an author and journalist who has translated six volumes for the Penguin Classics: Benvenuto Cellini’s Autobiography, The Book of the Courtier by Castiglione, Vasari’s Lives of the Artists (two volumes), The Prince by Machiavelli and Pietro Aretino’s Selected Letters. He is also Consultant Editor to the Penguin Business Series. After reading history at Brasenose College, Oxford, George Bull worked for the Financial Times, McGraw-Hill World News, and for the Director magazine, of which he was Editor-in-Chief until 1984. His other books include Vatican Politics; Bid for Power (with Anthony Vice), a history of take-over bids; Renaissance Italy, a book for children; Venice: The Most Triumphant City; and Inside the Vatican.
George Bull is an author and journalist who has translated six volumes for the Penguin Classics: Benvenuto Cellini’s Autobiography, The Book of the Courtier by Castiglione, Vasari’s Lives of the Artists (two volumes), The Prince by Machiavelli and Pietro Aretino’s Selected Letters. He is also Consultant Editor to the Penguin Business Series. After reading history at Brasenose College, Oxford, George Bull worked for the Financial Times, McGraw-Hill World News, and for the Director magazine, of which he was Editor-in-Chief until 1984. His other books include Vatican Politics; Bid for Power (with Anthony Vice), a history of take-over bids; Renaissance Italy, a book for children; Venice: The Most Triumphant City; and Inside the Vatican.

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The Book of the Courtier 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
And Book of Five Rings - while many people would like to think of business as 'Mortal Combat' with dollars, the truth is that business is a royal court, with layers of ritual, obsequious flattery, and relationship management. For every real executive empowered to 'make the call' there are dozens of people who have only 'influence'. Castiglione virtually invents the science of how to influence those above you, and win over your peers with grace and wit. So let other people pop testosterone pills with their Lattes in the morning, thinking it will give them the 'killer edge' - you can learn to glide past them with an ease that astonishes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Surprisingly liberal in it's approach, The Courtier purports to be four nights' discussion of the ideal courtier. The witty and subtle analysis yields some wonderful surprises -- for example, that the courtier should excel at everything, except chess. But the analysis is even more delightful than the conclusions reached. Nothing is left out. Discussions include how the courtier should conduct himself in combat, in society, with his betters, with his inferiors, and in love. It even discusses why one should be a courtier -- to be able to influence one's prince to make sound policy. The Courtier was very influential, coming out in over 100 editions in half a dozen languages within a century of its introduction. It's one of the best looks one can get at the Renaissance mind. I've studied this book in 3 modern English translations and one 17th century English translation, and this is the best of them.
BillMcGann on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Book of the CourtierThere really was a Camelot. But it was in Italy, Urbino in northern Italy to be exact, in the 1500s. Perched on top of a couple of hills in the region Le Marche, Urbino was ruled by the Montefeltro family. From 1444 to 1482 Federigo de Montefeltro skillfully steered his tiny domain through the rough storms of Italian Renaissance realpolitik. Federigo was a successful soldier of fortune yet maintained one of the largest libraries in Italy, spoke Latin, read Aristotle, helped orphans and in general earned the love of his people. He built a beautiful fairy-tale palace and had Paolo Uccello and Piero della Francesca decorate it. His less fortunate son Guidobaldo inherited this charming and well-run dukedom. Guidobaldo married the cultivated Elisabetta of the Gonzaga family from Mantua. He was an invalid and not made of his father¿s stern military stuff. A victim of the brilliant military campaigns of Cesare Borgia that so enchanted Machiavelli, Guidobaldo was temporarily deposed. When the Borgias (Cesare and his father Pope Alexander VI) died, the people of Urbino rose up, drove out Borgia¿s soldiers and cheered Guidobaldo and Elisabetta upon their return.For the next few years the court of Elisabetta and Guidobaldo was the most beautiful, enlightened, genteel place on earth. They attracted musicians, scholars and artists. Conversation was honed into a fine art. Into this paradise strode our Lancelot, Baldasare Castiglione, a diplomat descended from minor Italian nobility. He loved Elisabetta, but as far as we know the devotion remained platonicIt is because of Castiglione that we believe we have a sense of what the court of Montefeltro was like, or at least how they would have like to have been remembered. His ¿The Book of the Courtier¿ (Il Cortigiano) painstakingly analyzes the attributes of a gentleman through conversations (probably highly idealized) of refined visitors to Urbino. It¿s a long, slow, but thoroughly enjoyable book. It is a window into the renaissance mind. It does not describe how the Italians of the sixteenth century were, Machiavelli and Cellini are probably more useful there. But it tells how they wanted to be. The book was read and studied by nobility all over Europe.It¿s also how I wanted them to be. Urbino is one of my favorite places. It¿s a crowded student city now. But on a quiet morning when only a few people are about and the sun has made its way over the hills from the Adriatic, I can imagine that I can see the ghosts of Elisabetta and Guidobaldo walking on the cobbled streets outside their beautiful palace. Fussy, snobbish, yet kind and gentle Castiglione and his wonderful book help make that fantasy more real.
jpsnow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Several centuries ago, writing was simpler and more direct. Even though the sentences were longer, the word choice and meaning were always precise. This book is a Socratic exploration about greatness, framed as the recollection of a discussion held at court sometime in the early 1400's. Various characters discuss what traits are most important for those who would comprise a prince's court. Included in these virtues are grace, health, knowledge of arms, candor, trust, and beauty. All of these are explained through clever dialogue that invokes a sense of the 15th century and their appreciation of the classics. My favorite excerpt: "I have discovered a universal rule which seems to apply more than any other in all human actions or words: namely, to steer away from affectation at all costs, as if it were a rough and dangerous reef, and (to use perhaps a novel word for it) to practice in all things a certain nonchalance which conceals all artistry and makes whatever one says or does seem uncontrived and effortless."
hsifeng on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
REENACTORS NOTES: 367 pages: A handbook for young gentlmen from the period. Shameless opportunism, melancholy about the state of the human condition and the traping of court life abound. Italian but more global in it's scope as it deals with the proper courting of power by those who seek it anywhiere. Maybe, if you are playing a high ranking officer you might have even read it if you had done your 'finishing' in Italy.
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FARIEQUEENE More than 1 year ago
This is one of the google books that will not open upon downloading, try another copy.
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