Castiglione's Cortegiano, or Book of the Courtier, is often read as a book embodying the spirit of the High Renaissance in Italy. It is therefore easy to forget that Castiglione wrote the Courtier as a practical guide to contemporary conduct and that it quickly became a huge success outside Italy. More than a hundred editions have appeared in numerous languages since its first publication in 1528. With this in mind, cultural historian Peter Burke sets forth in his brilliant new book to explore how readers over the years have responded to the Courtier. Because it was read so widely in Europe, the Courtier affords Burke an ideal test case for the diffusion and reception of ideas. From Poland and Hungary to England, Portugal, and even the New World, he takes us on a fascinating tour of courts, libraries, and reading rooms in search of Castiglione's ideal courtier. He shows how changing responses to the Courtier, both positive and negative, reveal changing social values and how regional variations in its reception reflect the emerging cultural map of Europe. His evidence includes printing history, translations, marginalia, and records of sale and possession. He concludes with a discussion of the later fortune of the Courtier, including its role in the "civilizing process" and its curious appeal to writers as different as Samuel Johnson and W. B. Yeats.
Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
Number of pages: 222
Weight: 508 g
Dimensions: 235 x 158 x 24 mm