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IDSEMUG 1884 - Accessorizing the Renaissance: Manners, Taste and Fashion in Early Modern Europe

Many of the ideas that we in the West have about manners, appropriate behavior, good taste, style, and fashion originate in the ItalianRenaissance, particularly with visual artists who portrayed the clothing practices of the time, and with writers who focused on the ideas of self-fashioning in the construction of a personal and public identity and the necessity of good manners and fine clothing in fostering the relationship one has with the social community. These ideas became crucially important throughout Europe, influenced in part by their trade within the Mediterranean Basin and the Middle East, and form the basis of contemporary attitudes on style, manners, and fashion. This class will explore these key ideas through the perspective of their impact on gender, status, power, identity, and the position of the other. We will read primary texts from the Renaissance about self-fashioning, good manners, and dress in Europe and non-European countries, literary texts that give us dramatic representations of the importance of decorous behavior and style as well as visual representations of attire from the period. Readings may be drawn from texts such as Baldesare Castiglione’s Courtier, Giovanni della Casa’s, Galateo, Christine de Pizan's The Treasure of the City of Ladies, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Othello.
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Fall 2018, Fall 2017
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