Essay on The book of Courtier
Speech in “The Book of Courtier” and Reflection of the Same in “The Book Of College Student”
‘The book of Courtier’ is a book of etiquette written by the sixteenth-century Italian writer Baldassare Castiglione. The English version of the book came out in 1561. The mannerisms, speech, oratory of the perfect courtier have been described in the book. It reflects the life of the Renaissance court and is considered an important document which portrays the behavior of a perfect courtier. The book reflects the right mannerism which is convincing and protective of the institution for example through the art of sprezzatura. It also shows the way for the college students in America in modern times how to adhere to norms while speaking. The suggested mannerisms will help an individual to attain grace and be diplomatic in deliverance.
Importance of Speech in ‘The book of Courtier’
Among the many attributes of Castiglione’s characters is the perfect speech of the courtiers along with the manner of the deliverance of the speech. In the book, ‘The Duchess’ Elisabeth Gongaza asks the courtiers to select a topic of conversation for the evening and they choose the topic about what should be the mannerisms of the ideal courtier. The discussion soon heats up and continues for four days and suggestions come in from Castiglione’s characters about what will be the ideal manner of the courtier. During the speech, the courtiers showcase the behavior of the Renaissance court and show the ways which must be followed by a courtier of countenance.
Speech as Occurs in The Book.
The first opener of the speech Lewis, Count of Conossa says the ideal courtier must be nobly born, have a countenance that is pleasant and must show wit in his conversation. The courtier must present many skills, but he should not brag of those during his conversation and be polite and tactful (The book of Courtier, 1561).
While the conversation turns into a burning debate, the courtiers are struggling with their vocabulary of vernacular words and imposing the supremacy of Latin words in their discourse. Then the Count recommends that the courtier shuns the unfamiliar and antique words and increases their vocabulary with words that are familiar but pronounces them with a certain grace. Consequently, Sir Frederick Ferguso argues that the Count depends much on the custom and the courtiers should “shun the vices of speech” even if it has been adhered by the masses (The book of Courtier, 1561). But the Count of Conossa argus that it is the knowledge of the courtier rather than his diction which gives him the place of importance in the society. During the debate, Ferguso states that it is important for the courtier to choose proper time and place for the delivery of his speech. He must know by discretion when to remain silent and when to speak and how to behave to be worthy of praise avoiding enmity. According to Ferguso, the best tact to win the praise of the multitude is “little speaking, much doing, and not praising a man’s own self in commendable deeds” (The book of Courtier, 1561). Ludovico, another Count, comments that it is the first impression on the audience that counts while holding them during a conversation. The sonority of a well sounding voice that is clear holds high esteem according to the count. The voice should avoid colloquialism and at the same time stop being mundane. There should be a soft poise that has the softness of the eyes and tempered by an overall grace (The book of Courtier, 1561).
Grace or grazia becomes the important aspect in the deliverance of the speech and the mannerisms of the courtier. Wayne Rebhorn, a scholar of Castiglione’s writings states that the mannerisms and oratory of the courtier are made to orient the people to wonder at him and to “transform himself into a beautiful spectacle for others to contemplate” (The book of Courtier, 1561).
Sprezzatura in the Deliverance of Speech
One important aspect of the grace or grazia is engaging in sprezzatura which is a special art of communicating while in the court. Sprezzatura is the circular motion in which speech is continued and the speakers are placed in a circle so that the intrusion from outside is prevented. Everyone gets their chance to speak. The ideal courtier must be aware of the boundaries of sprezzatura and it forms to the author a vision of an ideal world. Following the sprezzatura will prevent disruption of speech and purpose (The book of Courtier, 1561).
The Attributes to be Replicated in “The Book of the College Students”
The qualities discussed is ideal even in the twenty-first century for the college students of America. The grace, the novelty, choice of diction, avoidance of clichéd words and the polite manner in which speech is recommended to be delivered is an example to be followed. Along with that during debate and discussions, the example of sprezzatura must be adhered to as it gives the students the chance to state their opinion without disruption and chaos.
The Renaissance mannerisms teach the best ways to deliver the speech gracefully with a sonorous voice and without the proclamation about self. It teaches one to be focussed and be elegant in deliverance. The book of College Students should capture all these attributes to be one which will become exemplary for students to follow to be better professionals in the challenging world.
Castiglione, Baldassarre conte. The Book of Courtier. New York, 2003.
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