- Used Books
- Staff Picks
- Gifts & Gift Cards
- Sell Books
- Stores & Events
- Let's Talk Books
Special Offers see all
More at Powell's
Recently Viewed clear list
Ships in 1 to 3 days
This title in other editions
Galateo: Or, the Rules of Polite Behaviorby Giovanni Della Casa
Synopses & Reviews
“Since it is the case that you are now just beginning that journey that I have for the most part as you see completed, that is, the one through mortal life, and loving you so very much as I do, I have proposed to myself—as one who has been many places—to show you those places in life where, walking through them, I fear you could easily either fall or take the wrong direction.”
So begins Galateo, a treatise on polite behavior written by Giovanni Della Casa (1503–56) for the benefit of his nephew, a young Florentine destined for greatness.
In the voice of a cranky yet genial old uncle, Della Casa offers the distillation of what he has learned over a lifetime of public service as diplomat and papal nuncio. As relevant today as it was in Renaissance Italy, Galateo deals with subjects as varied as dress codes, charming conversation and off-color jokes, eating habits and hairstyles, and literary language. In its time, Galateo circulated as widely as Machiavelli’s Prince and Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier. Mirroring what Machiavelli did for promoting political behavior, and what Castiglione did for behavior at court, Della Casa here creates a picture of the refined man caught in a world in which embarrassment and vulgarity prevail. Less a treatise promoting courtly values or a manual of savoir faire, it is rather a meditation on conformity and the law, on perfection and rules, but also an exasperated—often theatrical—reaction to the diverse ways in which people make fools of themselves in everyday social situations.
With renewed interest in etiquette and polite behavior growing both inside and outside the academy, the time is right for a new, definitive edition of this book. More than a mere etiquette book, this restored edition will be entertaining (and even useful) for anyone making their way in modern civilized and polite society, and a subtle gift for the rude neighbor, the thoughtless dinner guest, or the friend or relative in need of a refresher on proper behavior.
"Appearing for the first time in English since 1811, this new translation of Giovanni Della Casa's classic guide to good living is a fascinating glimpse at the social niceties and surprisingly familiar faux pas of the Renaissance. Della Casa (1503-1556), who originally penned his treatise for the benefit of his young Florentine nephew, lambasts perennial peccadillos like clipping one's nails at the table, spitting, talking too much about your dreams, and acting like you know it all. By comparison, antiquated passages on manners at communal cooking pits, the vapidity of Spanish flattery, and matching your stockings to your doublet are interesting primarily as historical oddities. Rusnack's contemporary translation is occasionally off-key (the word 'loogie' doesn't quite fit in with the work's florid syntax), and the idea that this is for the 'common reader' is a stretch. It is, however, perfectly suited for history buffs interested in the quotidian pressures of private lives. In addition to that, Della Casa's tract can be praised for its aphoristic poetry: 'Little expenses silently consume our wealth, these small sins... stealthily undermine our distinguished and good behavior.' 4 halftones. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Giovanni Della Casa (1503–56) was a celebrated Italian writer and diplomat whose works in Latin and Italian spread across a stunning range of poetic and prose genres.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Arts and Entertainment » Music » General