[Introduction to Texts] Galateo: The Rules of Polite Behavior

Introduction to Texts
Poster:Post date:2016-12-14
Taiwan Association of Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies
Introduction to Texts before 1800
主題 Topic Renaissance Conduct Book
書刊名 Title
Galateo: The Rules of Polite Behavior 《禮儀準則》
作者 Author Giovanni Della Casa
出版社 Publisher The University of Chicago Press
出版年 Year
Original version:1558
Modern version: 2013
語言 Language Original text: Italian
(Translated into English by M. F. Rusnak)
裝訂 Binding 平裝 Paperback    □ 精裝 Hardcover
頁數 Pages 144
ISBN (10 / 13) 13-978-0-226-21219-7
Bibliography Reference
(STC, Duff, GW . . .)
來源網址Web Link  
撰稿者 Writer 李祁芳、林柏豪
撰寫日期Date 2 Nov. 2016
A.   簡介 Introduction (within 100 words, Chinese or English)
  如同巴迪賽爾.卡司堤奧尼(Baldesar Castigione)所著的《廷臣論》(The Book of Courtier),此書的印製在文藝復興時期的義大利極具指標性。內容教導人的行為舉止都必須合乎禮貌,絲毫不容犯錯。與卡司堤奧尼不同的是,《禮儀準則》更強調了人在公共空間的形象。凡是想要表現出魅力的(attractive)人,《禮儀準則》更是必讀之書。

B.   文本摘錄 Extracts (4-6 Pages)
Ways We Enjoy one another, and Irk One Another, Especially in Conversion
You must realize that humans by nature have appetites for many and various things. Some want to vent their wrath, some satisfy their gluttony, others indulge their libido, others their pure greed, still others a different urge. But in dealing with them, it does not seem that one asks for, or is able to ask for, or desires any of the above-mentioned vices. These appetites do not consist in the manners or fashions or speech of people, but in something else entirely. People actually desire whatever can facilitate communicating with each other; and this seems to be goodness, honor and serenity, or something else quite similar. For this reason one must never say or do anything that gives the impression that one has little affection for or appreciation of others. This is exhibited by the very impolite tendency of many people to fall asleep in the middle of a pleasant group sitting together in conversation. By doing this, they demonstrate, in effect, how little they think of the others and how little they appreciate them and their conversation. Not to mention that whoever falls asleep, particularly in an uncomfortable position, which invariably occurs, tends most of the time to commit some act unpleasant to see or to hear. Very often such sleepy folks wake up sweaty and drooling. For this same reason getting yourself up while others are sitting and talking and then pacing around the room seems a bothersome habit. There are yet other who are continually fidgeting, twitching, stretching out, and yawning, turning first to side and then the other, so it looks as if they have in that instant caught a fever: such is clear evidence that they regret being in that company. Those who occasionally pull a letter out of their pocket to read are equally rude. Worse yet is the one who brings out a fingernail scissor and devotes herself to clipping or filing her nails, treating the others like they are worth nothing amuse to find some other distraction in order to pass the time. One must not adopt the habits of some people, such as humming a tune, or imitating the beating of a drum on the table with their fingers, or shuffling their legs, for these actions indicate a real contempt for others. In addition, one must not turn one’s back on someone, nor lift one’s leg high so that we a part that clothes should conceal, for these obnoxious acts should not be committed among persons one revers. True enough, if a gentleman acted so among very close friends or in the presence of a friend of lower social rank, he would show not arrogance but rather love and intimacy. A man must stand with an erect posture and not lean against or overtop someone else. When you speak, don’t be poking others with your elbows, as many are in the habit of doing with every word, saying, “Is that not so?,” “What do you think of that?,” And Mr. Whathisname?,” and all the while continuing to jab with elbow.
The Don’ts of Conversion
In conversation one can sin in many and various ways, starting with choice of subject: it should be neither frivolous nor vile. Listeners will not pau attention or take pleasure in it, but they will scorn the talk and the talker both. Also, one must not pick a theme too subtle or too acrane, for it is exhausting to hear. Instead, one must really diligently select a topic so that no one will turn red or feel ashamed. Nor should you talk about something dirty, even though it could be pretty amusing to hear, for decent people should try to please others only with respectable subjects. Neither in jest nor seriously should you say anything against God or his saints, no matter how witty and clever it seems. This sin was often committed by the gang of noble youths in the Decameron with their tales, and for this they should be chastised severely u all discerning people. Remember that to gab and joke about God is not only the sign of a delinquent and impious man but also the vice of an impolite person, and it is unpleasant to hear: you will find many who flee from a place where God’s name is used profanely. Not only should one speak reverently of God, but in every discussion one should avoid with disgust words that bear witness against one’s life and deeds, for men hate seeing in others the vices that are their own. Similarly it is not proper to speak of things which are critical of the present occasion with people listening, even if these criticisms, in another time and place, would be just, good, and respected. Let Friar Nastagio’s sermons then not be mentioned to young women intent on filling around, as that fine fellow who lived near San Brancazio, not far from you, used to do all the time. Neither at a party nor at the table should one tell depressing tales of woe, nor mention nor call to mind wounds, maladies, deaths, and contagious illness, or any other suffering. And if someone else were to lapse into this sort of lugubrious conversation, one must gently and reasonably change the subject, providing one that is lighter and in good taste. Even so, I have heard an astute neighbor of mine say that men have a great need to cry as well as to laugh. He claimed that foe this reason those sad stories we call tragedies were first devised, so that when performed in theaters as they were back in that age they would bring tears to the eyes of viewers, actually curing them of certain infirmities. But whatever the case, to us it is not good to cast a gloom upon those with whom we speak, especially in the place where people are gathered for a party and a good time, rather than for anguish and weeping. If there should be someone who is so infirm that he needs a good try, the cure is simple enough: either medicate him with some hot mustard or sick him in a smoke-filled room. For this reason there is absolutely no excuse for Filostrato, who proposed telling stories full of sorrows and pangs of death when the company was interested in nothing but being entertained. It is better, then, to avoid talking about morbid and melancholy thins and, if necessary, to just keep quiet. Not unlike this, nothing comes from the mouths of some others except stories about their children, their wives, or their nannies, and these types are equally to blame. “Last night my kid really made me laugh!” “You will never see a cuter baby than my little Momo”; “My wife is such a …”; “My Cechina says that … you wouldn’t believe she’s smart as whip already!” No one has so little to do that he has the time to respond or even pay attention to such rubbish, and so it exasperates everyone.

Last modification time:2020-06-23 PM 4:02

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