Joking Matters: Politics and Dissimulation in Castiglione's Book of the Courtier

Cavallo, Jo Ann

The Book of the Courtier outwardly portrays an aura of cordial solidarity as courtiers gathered in Urbino from various regions of Italy attempt to describe the ideal courtier; recently, however, critics have uncovered tensions on various fronts which threaten to expose deep rifts under the elegant courtly veneer. While these "counter" readings have focused primarily on the courtier's relation to the prince and to other courtiers, this essay aims to explore conflicts that arise from the different regional and political affiliations of the group. In particular, I argue that the largely ignored section on joke-telling teaches courtiers how to give vent to their animosity under the cover of humor and dissimulation.

Geographic Areas



Also Published In

Renaissance Quarterly

More About This Work

Academic Units
The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Renaissance Society of America
Published Here
April 23, 2014