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Cultivating an ethos of civility : good manners in Castiglione's Book of the Courtier

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Cultivating an ethos of civility : good manners in Castiglione's Book of the Courtier

Nickerson, Sibbyl (2008) Cultivating an ethos of civility : good manners in Castiglione's Book of the Courtier. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Baldesar Castiglione's Book of the Courtier ventures to give an account of how the well-mannered courtier ought to comport himself upon entering into the company of others. The text has alternately been received as one which presumes to delineate the methods of instantiating an idealized principality; or as one which fatuously lauds the merits of form for form's sake; or as a text that cynically espouses the political merits of deceptively pleasing manners. A great deal of attention has been also paid to the interlocutor's treatment of the relationship between the courtier and his prince. I propose that the text's treatment of good manners is best understood as an ethical and political consideration of the meaning and aims of pleasing behaviour. In this vein, I identify the author's reliance upon Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and refer to this text's treatment of the virtues of "friendliness," "truthfulness" and wit to develop an understanding of the principles which underpin and inform Castiglione's treatment of pleasing words and deeds. Ultimately, I propose that The Book of the Courtier implicitly recognizes the merits of cultivating an ethos of civility at court and suggest that this ethos can fruitfully help guide civil courtiers in their relations with one another as well as their prince.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Political Science
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Nickerson, Sibbyl
Pagination:v, 131 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Political Science
Date:2008
Thesis Supervisor(s):King, Ed
ID Code:975979
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:18
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:41
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