Courts and Courtiers in Renaissance Northern Italy

1st Edition

Stephen Kolsky

Published September 27, 2018
Reference - 350 Pages
ISBN 9781138375529 - CAT# K397871
Series: Variorum Collected Studies


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The extraordinary cultural Renaissance in the northern Italian courts of the late 15th and early 16th centuries is the subject of this volume. It starts with Baldessar Castiglione's Book of the Courtier (1528) which encapsulates this sense of renewal: his experiences at court and their subsequent rewriting form the backbone of the work. The author then addresses questions of biography, gender, genre, and the varied roles of the courtier, expanding the perspective of Castiglione's text to include the lives and writings of other courtiers and patrons. What was it like to be a courtier? What were the problems associated with such a lifestyle? The importance of women in court circles is also highlighted in studies of one of the most notable of female patrons Isabella d'Este (1474-1539) and of the theoretical developments in writing about gender, stimulated by such women. Stephen Kolsky's analysis of both well-known and comparatively obscure texts brings out the diversity of practices that constituted court society and their centrality to our understanding of the Renaissance.

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