Confidence Games

Jon R. Snyder

in Dissimulation and the Culture of Secrecy in Early Modern Europe

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780520228191
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944442 | DOI:
Confidence Games

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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In the development of the discourse on dissimulation within the genre of writing about courtiers and court society is seen the most successful elite institution during the early modern period. The ways in which dissimulation was represented acted as a constituent part of the courtier's art. The chapter discusses how during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the context of court society did not show a great difference in sprezzatura. Meanwhile, the appearance of neologism sprezzatura in the text of Il Libro del Cortegiano indicated the key moment of conceptual tension in Castiglione's treatment of the ideal conduct of the early modern courtier. This led to Castiglione's innovative use of the category of dissimulation in order to define the perfect courtier's code of conduct that represented the attempt to discover a new form of social distinction.

Keywords: genre; courtiers; sprezzatura; neologism; dissimulation; social distinction

Chapter.  16773 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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