Comparative Literature | Power and Privilege in Renaissance Europe
C355 | 27535 | Prof. S. Van der Laan


Second 8 -weeks, 3 CR
TR 5:45 PM - 8:15 PM
Fulfills A & H Credit

The Renaissance court, according to Baldassare Castaglione in his
Book of the Courtier: a center for elite humanist studies and the
enlightened patronage of great art in all media. The Renaissance
court, according to Niccolo Macchiavelli in The Prince: the crucible
of new, increasingly ruthless and amoral means of gaining and keeping
political power for its own sake. We will study one Italian, one
French, and one English court of the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries, examining the literature, art, architecture, and music
produced for their rulers and by the members of their courts. We will
read these products of the court against popular works produced for
the public sphere in order to test our conclusions about the
distinctive features of each court and to uncover shared concerns and
points of contention between court and popular culture. By exploring
the myths that these courts construct about themselves and the
reactions they drew from citizens outside their circles, we will
arrive at a rich and nuanced appreciation of the interactions of
various Renaissance art forms among each other and with their social
contexts. Authors and artists to be studied may include Niccolo
Macchiavelli, Angelo Poliziano, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico
Savonarola, Filippo Brunelleschi,  Marguerite de Navarre, Clement
Marot, Francois Rabelais, the School of Fontainebleu, Gilles le
Breton, Domenico da Cortona, William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Edmund
Spenser, Philip Sidney, Nicholas Hilliard, and Robert Smythson.