“The Courtier’s Library” is a list of books every courtier should know about, a cheat sheet for name-dropping in society. The trouble? Its books are imaginary.
Moralists found it easy to criticize Spanish men, particularly the high-born among them, for all sorts of supposed failures of masculinity.
Lifecasting was the renaissance art of making sculptures using molds taken from real-life plants and animals.
If thieves’ cant—a language known only to criminals—was the Devil’s cabinet, bourgeois society couldn’t help but peep inside.