Civility and society in western Europe, 1300-1600 /
Marvin B. Becker.
Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c1988.
xxii, 214 p. ; 24 cm.
More Details
Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c1988.
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1989-01:
Becker, a leading authority on the culture of the Italian Renaissance, argues that in the era from 1300 to 1600 there was a dramatic change in the system of social manners and behavior from one based on feudal ties and a warrior ethic to one arising out of the culture and urban life of Renaissance Italy. The author proposes that the new civility, coming out of the Tuscan cities, replaced the heroic culture of the rural nobility as the dominant ethos of the upper classes. Becker traces this development for both Italy and England largely through a study of literature. He focuses especially on changes in the meaning of words, but he also draws on his knowledge of art, education, the rituals of the courts, and religious practices. The book has extensive notes and an index, but no bibliography or illustrations (some of the latter would have been useful). A truly erudite work, it is too difficult for all but the advanced scholar. For university libraries with strong holdings in Renaissance history. -F.J. Baumgartner, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 1989
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Main Description
Becker's richly allusive essay in social and cultural history traces the emergence of a new civil society in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Italy and its later exportation to England. This new society was characterized by measure and control, by a separation of private from public concerns, by self-cultivation and self-conscious role playing, and by an inward and personal, rather than outward and social, orientation. The contours of this new social paradigm are revealed in Becker's careful examination of particular aspects of Tuscan culture and society during this period and their translation to England some two centuries later.

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