Galateo: A Renaissance Treatise on Manners, by Giovanni Della Casa
3rd Revised Edition. Edited and Translated by Konrad Eisenbichler and Kenneth R. Bartlett.
Courtesy books have a special relationship to the age that produces them. By attempting to codify manners, styles, ideals and values of a society, they reveal the principles and presuppositions that shape and animate their world. Galateo does this brilliantly. It reflects the personal experience, wisdom, disappointments, and ambitions of its clerical but worldly-wise author, as well as the fundamental values of his age. And, given that his age was that of the transformation from the High Renaissance in Italy to the world of the Counter-Reformation, and that Della Casa was an important actor in the events of his time, the lessons are particularly valuable and worth considering.
Archbishop Giovanni Della Casa (1503-1556) was an influential Vatican diplomat, papal nuncio to Venice, and instrumental in the establishment of the Venetian Inquisition and in its 1549 Index of Prohibited Books. He was also an accomplished poet, an arbiter of taste, and the most influential writer on social practice of his time. His book, Galateo, has in fact provided the modern Italian term for good manners: “not to know the galateo” is to have no manners at all!
Kenneth R. Bartlett is Professor of History and Renaissance Studies at Victoria College in the University of Toronto.
Konrad Eisenbichler is Professor of Italian and Renaissance Studies at Victoria College in the University of Toronto.
“This translation, in a contemporary English that avoids excessive colloquialisms, makes readily accessible to everyone interested in Renaissance culture a text that is not only a major book of etiquette but an illuminating study of the ideals of sixteenth century Italian Society. Through the text and its notes […] Eisenbichler and Bartlett anticipate the needs of readers for historical and mythological information. Eisenbichler and Bartlett have rendered an invaluable service to all students of the Italian Renaissance.”
— Douglas Radcliff-Umstead, Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Reformé 26/3 (2002), pp. 241-242.
CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, 24 (December 1986), p. 630.
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100 pp. / Softcover / ISBN 978-0-9697512-2-9 / $14.00 (Price includes applicable taxes, Shipping: $6.00 CAD in North America; $18.00 CAD International; prices may vary for bulk orders)