Why was Castiglione's Book of the Courtier popular during the Renaissance?

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kmj23 | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Baldassare Castiglione, the Count of Casatico, began writing his Book of the Courtier in 1508 and it was completed and published in 1528, the year before he died. This book was arguably the most popular of its age, with dozens of editions published in various European languages. Historians have no definitive answer on why it was so popular but it was, perhaps, because the focus of the book mirrored the very essence of the Renaissance, through its emphasis on love, courtiers and beauty, topics which guaranteed its appeal to a wide audience. The book's dialogue also mirrored those of Classic Rome, especially the styles of Cicero and Quintillian, which, again, made it very popular, particularly among the middle and upper classes who were rediscovering ancient texts. Castiglione's choice to write the book in Italian, and not in Tuscan, also added to its widespread appeal and gave it a fashionable, up-to-date feel.

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