MARS 1F90 Lecture Notes - Francesco Guicciardini, Petrarch, Pope Leo X

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MARS 1F90
Winter Term (2011)
Lecture 5: Great Books of the Renaissance
1. Introduction: the three great books of the Renaissance
a. Castiglione: The Book of the Courtier
b. Machiavelli: The Prince
c. Guicciardini: The History of Italy
2. Castiglione: The Book of the Courtier
a. Italy in the first decade of the 16th century
i. Autonomous states / principalities
ii. Each ruled by a prince / lord (signore)
iii. Who received his power from the Holy Roman Emperor or the
pope
iv. Florence and Venice were the only exceptions
v. Hereditary rule
vi. The princely courts became centers of a flourishing cultural life
vii. Princes of the Italian Renaissance as patrons of the arts
viii. Petrarch and Leonardo da Vinci
ix. Humanist scholars employed as royal secretaries or served as
ambassadors
x. A highly aristocratic culture
xi. A new model of behavior in the later Renaissance
b. Castiglione’s book exemplified this new trend
c. It became one of the most popular and widely read books of the Italian
Renaissance
d. Castiglione
i. Lived from 1478 to 1529
ii. He came from the nobility
iii. In the service of the Duke of Milan
iv. He ends up at the court of the dukes of Urbino
v. He is appointed ambassador to the Holy See (1513)
e. The Book of the Courtier: plot, structure and context
i. It is a dialogue
ii. It is cast in the form of a series of discussions
iii. The tone
iv. The historical context
v. The discussion as a metaphor
1. The possibility of perfecting humanity
2. The role of culture
3. The rules of courtly etiquette
4. The barbarians (the French and the Spanish) and
Renaissance culture
vi. The influence of Neo-Platonism
f. The last years of Castiglione’s life
i. He is forced to leave Urbino
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