In The Book of the Courtier (1528), Baldesar Castiglione, a diplomat and Papal Nuncio to Rome, sets out to define the essential virtues for those at Court. In a lively series of imaginary conversations between the real-life courtiers to the Duke of Urbino, his speakers discuss qualities of noble behaviour - chiefly discretion, decorum, nonchalance and gracefulness - as well as wider questions such as the duties of a good government and the true nature of love. Castiglione's narrative power and psychological perception make this guide both an entertaining comedy of manners and a revealing window onto the ideals and preoccupations of the Italian Renaissance at the moment of its greatest splendour.
An insider's view of court life during the Renaissance, here is the handiwork of a 16th-century diplomat who was called upon to resolve the differences in a war of etiquette among the Italian nobility.
An insider's view of court life and culture during the Renaissance, 'The Book of the Courtier' is the handiwork of a diplomat who was called upon to resolve the differences in a war of etiquette among the Italian nobility. Set in 1507, when Castiglione was an attaché to the Duke of Urbino, the book consists of a series of fictional conversations between members of the Duke's retinue, who discuss the virtues and conduct of the ideal courtier. Translated into many languages after its 1528 publication, it became the ultimate resource on aristocratic manners, offering sixteenth-century readers a manual on how to behave. Today, it remains the most definitive account of life among the Renaissance nobility.
Author: Jonathan Wordsworth
Publisher: Penguin UK
Release Date: 2005-05-26
The Romanticism that emerged after the American and French revolutions of 1776 and 1789 represented a new flowering of the imagination and the spirit, and a celebration of the soul of humanity with its capacity for love. This extraordinary collection sets the acknowledged genius of poems such as Blake's 'Tyger', Coleridge's 'Khubla Khan' and Shelley's 'Ozymandias' alongside verse from less familiar figures and women poets such as Charlotte Smith and Mary Robinson. We also see familiar poets in an unaccustomed light, as Blake, Wordsworth and Shelley demonstrate their comic skills, while Coleridge, Keats and Clare explore the Gothic and surreal.
Author: Anthony Birley
Publisher: Penguin UK
Release Date: 2005-02-24
One of the most controversial of all works to survive from ancient Rome, the Augustan History is our main source of information about the Roman emperors from 117 to 284 AD. Written in the late fourth century by an anonymous author, it is an enigmatic combination of truth, invention and humour. This volume contains the first half of the History, and includes biographies of every emperor from Hadrian to Heliogabalus - among them the godlike Marcus Antonius and his grotesquely corrupt son Commodus. The History contains many fictitious (but highly entertaining) anecdotes about the depravity of the emperors, as the author blends historical fact and faked documents to present our most complete - albeit unreliable - account of the later Roman Caesars.
Author: Michel de Montaigne
Release Date: 1993
To overcome a crisis of melancholy after the death of his father, Montaigne withdrew to his country estates and began to write. This title discusses Montaigne's themes such as fathers and children, conscience and cowardice, and coaches and cannibals.
Written over 350 years ago, The Pocket Oracle and the Art of Prudence is a charming collection of 300 witty and thought-provoking aphorisms. From the art of being lucky to the healthy use of caution, these elegant maxims were created as a guide to life, with further suggestions given on cultivating good taste, knowing how to refuse, the foolishness of complaining and the wisdom of controlling one's passions. Baltasar Gracian intended that these ingenious aphorisms would encourage each reader to challenge themselves both in understanding and applying each axiom.
Ineffable sweetness, bold, uncanny sweetness that came to my eyes from her lovely face; from that day on I'd willingly have closed them, never to gaze again at lesser beauties. --from Sonnet 116 Petrarch was born in Tuscany and grew up in the south of France. He lived his life in the service of the church, traveled widely, and during his lifetime was a revered, model man of letters. Petrarch's greatest gift to posterity was his Rime in vita e morta di Madonna Laura, the cycle of poems popularly known as his songbook. By turns full of wit, languor, and fawning, endlessly inventive, in a tightly composed yet ornate form they record their speaker's unrequited obsession with the woman named Laura. In the centuries after it was designed, the "Petrarchan sonnet," as it would be known, inspired the greatest love poets of the English language--from the times of Spenser and Shakespeare to our own. David Young's fresh, idiomatic version of Petrarch's poetry is the most readable and approachable that we have. In his skillful hands, Petrarch almost sounds like a poet out of our own tradition bringing the wheel of influence full circle.
Author: Timothy J. Standring
Publisher: Royal Collection Publications
Release Date: 2013
Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (160964) was perhaps the most innovative and technically brilliant Italian draftsman of his time.Working in oils on paper he produced large, vibrant compositions as works of art in their own right; his dramatic etchings were as intense as those of Rembrandt; and he combined drawing and printmaking to invent the technique of the monotype.Though highly esteemed for a century after his death, he has fallen from fame in the modern era. In this book, the first publication on Castiglione in decades, extensive new research reveals the story of the artists scandalous private life, in fascinating contrast to the ethereal beauty of his art. Illustrated with over 80 of Castigliones extraordinary works from the Royal Collection, this catalogue restores his reputation as one of the great artists of the Baroque.