The "Cortegiania" and "Courtesan Philosophy": B. Castiglione and B. Gracián

Maria Teresa Ricci

Abstract


The aim of this article is to explore the concept of “courtliness” («cortesania») in Castiglione and Gracián. The hero of Gracián learns the art of the “courtliness” from Castiglione, but he is not a “courtier”. Gracián uses the word “courtier” in a much broader sense. The courtliness in Castiglione is a sort of meta-discipline that contains in itself all the arts and is founded on the universal rule of «grace». The article shows how the theory of the grace of Castiglione, through which the count would have been able to reconcile two requirements, achieved success in Court and a life governed by the sign of elegance, loses its intensity in Gracián, who insists more on the strategic behavior, based more on prudence and discretion than on grace. The courtesan philosophy of Gracián is understood as a discourse on the life. If we understand the court as the enclosed space in which the courtier of Castiglione lives, it is not a philosophy of court but a philosophy of human life. Gracián court is the square in the world.


Keywords


Courtliness; Grazia; sprezzatura; despejo; prudence; discretion

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22370/rhv.2015.5.141

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