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The Book of the Courtier (Penguin Classics) Paperback – October 28, 1976
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
Founded in 1906 by J.M. Dent, the Everyman Library has always tried to make the best books ever written available to the greatest number of people at the lowest possible price. Unique editorial features that help Everyman Paperback Classics stand out from the crowd include: a leading scholar or literary critic's introduction to the text, a biography of the author, a chronology of her or his life and times, a historical selection of criticism, and a concise plot summary. All books published since 1993 have also been completely restyled: all type has been reset, to offer a clarity and ease of reading unique among editions of the classics; a vibrant, full-color cover design now complements these great texts with beautiful contemporary works of art. But the best feature must be Everyman's uniquely low price. Each Everyman title offers these extensive materials at a price that competes with the most inexpensive editions on the market-but Everyman Paperbacks have durable binding, quality paper, and the highest editorial and scholarly standards. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book takes the form of a dialogue set at the court of Urbino in 1506 (or 1507) and carried out over the course of four consecutive evenings; thus it consists of four books, each with its own focus and principal speakers. The first book is definitely worth reading for anyone interested in the times, as it discusses such topics as the nature of nobility, sprezzatura (nonchalance), imitation in the arts, and the relation between letters and arms. The second book seems less essential--at least in our age--as its main topic is the art of courtly discussion, including a long section on witticisms. The third book is about the ideal lady, though most of it is taken up with a debate about whether women are less perfect than men or their equals, and then there is a long section on courtly love. This chapter offers a window into the range of views about women at that time and also into the relations between aristocratic men and women. The chapter is heavily coloured by the values of chivalry and is perhaps the one which most reveals the gulf in values between Renaissance culture and our own. These courtiers are ill from love and often near the point of death for all their pining. Especially in the third book they seem so dainty and polite it is hard to picture them even yielding a sword. Their ideal courtier and lady are so refined their every breath seems mannered and measured. While reading the book I kept wishing to see the portrayal of such fine manners and subtle glances on the screen (since where else could one see them today?), but, at the same time, it seems that such airy people could at any moment just pop out of existence. Fortunately the fourth book corrects all that by arguing that all of the previously mentioned qualities of a courtier are justified by only one end: the courtier's role in enhancing his prince's virtue. In order to show how that may be done the first part of book 4 draws heavily on Aristotle's "Ethics" and "Politics." Then the climax of the book points to the contemplative life, drawing heavily on the idea of the ladder of love in Plato's "Symposium."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is suitable for young menRead more