The Book of the Courtier

The Book of the Courtier

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The Book of the Courtier

The Book of the Courtier

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Excerpt

Reasons for presenting this old book anew were found in the esteem that it long enjoyed, in the rank still held by it in Italian literature, and in the fact that, of three former English versions, the first (recently twice reprinted) is too antiquated to be readily intelligible to the general reader, while the other two (published more than one hundred and fifty years ago) are seldom met in any but large public libraries.

When Castiglione wrote, the sturdy Knight of earlier ages had become the accomplished Courtier. in describing this new hero, the author gave utterance to the finest aspirations of his day. Life was, it is true, sometimes gross and violent, but even if the delicate and gentle beauty of Renaissance art furnished us no evidence, these pages would suffice to show that a loftier standard of thought and conduct had been raised. the book will not lack interest until mankind ceases to be interesting to man, and will reward study so long as the past shall continue to instruct the present and the future.

The only deviations that the translator has consciously made from the letter of the original were deemed necessary to render its meaning clear. the notes that he offers are intended to give further light on obscure passages and to relieve the reader from the tedium of searching in books of reference. No one, perhaps, will take it amiss to be reminded of what all may have known but few are able to remember with precision.

The translator desires to repeat his thanks for the friendly encouragement that he received from Miss Grace Norton, at whose suggestion his task was undertaken. He is indebted to Dr. Luigi Roversi and Signor Leopoldo Jung for patient aid, to Professor Hastings Crossley for revision of the notes, and to Signor Alessandro Luzio and other scholars for the kindness with which they contributed iconographical and bibliographical data. He gratefully acknowledges, also, his constant use of the material contained in Professor Vittorio Cian’s admirable edition of the text.

The second issue of the present translation has afforded opportunity for some corrections.

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