Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Un po' di Galateo

Galateo: The Rules of Polite Behavior (Il Galateo, overo de 'costume) by Giovanni Della Casa (1503–56) was published in Venice in 1558. A lively guide to what one should do and avoid in ordinary social life, this influential courtesy book of the Renaissance explores subjects such as dress, table manners, and conversation. It became so popular that the title, which refers to the name of one of the author’s distinguished friends, entered into the Italian language. To “not know the Galateo” means to be impolite, crude, and awkward in polite society. link
I often "forget my Galateo." Here is Galateo on puns and word play:
Jingling Puns 
     You will meet also with some people, who, for every word that is spoken, have some other word, without any meaning, ready at hand, by way of jingle; others, who will change the syllables of a word in a trifling, foolish manner; others will speak or answer in a different manner from what we expected; and that without any wit or beauty of thought, as, 
'Where is my Lord?' -- [In his clothes, unless he is bathing or in bed]. 
'How does this wine taste?' -- [A little moist, I think]. 
'How is this dish to be eaten?' -- [With your mouth and the like].
   All which kinds of wit (as you will easily apprehend) are low and vulgar. But to discourse what kinds of wit are most elegant and genteel, is no part of my present design; for this has been done already and very copiously, by men far my superiors in learning and ingenuity. Besides, as all true wit affords immediately sufficient and certain testimony of its own grace and elegance, you can very rarely err in this respect, unless you are blinded by an immoderate degree of self-partiality: For whenever a jest is really facetious and elegant, there immediately arises an appearance of mirth and laughter, joined with no common degree of admiration.
    If, therefore, your witticisms are not instantly approved by the laugh of the company,* for Heaven's sake, do not attempt to be witty for the future, for you may take it for granted, the defect is in yourself, and not in your audience. For the hearers, being immediately stricken with a ready, genteel, and delicate repartee or bon mot, cannot possibly forbear laughing, though ever so desirous, but must necessarily laugh, though against their will. 


Meade said...



chickelit said...

Way too shay, Meade.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I went to Wegmans the other day to pick up a six pack of beer. The entrance/exit vestibule at that part of the store is a bit disordered, something of a "weave area."

Anyway, I'm leaving with my purchase and I hang back a little bit to let this woman go ahead of me but she doesn't know I'm there. She's talking to someone but I can't tell who it is. He or she must have lagged behind in the merging foot traffic.

She apparently thought I was that person because she says out loud, in my direction, "Well, that certainly was a disappointment."

And she was kind of good-looking and I say, "I hear that from women all the time."

Okay, so now you're all wondering: What was her reaction?

And now it's time to tell the truth. She didn't react to what I said because I didn't actually say it. I just thought of saying it.

Now, do I know my Galateo or what, I ask you.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

So the 'smart-ass' has existed in society for a very long time then. :-)

LOL indeed.

ricpic said...

Which Wegmans, Eric? Which town? Wegmans is the big kahuna where I live, Ithaca, NY.

Lem said...

MH will love this post... when he wakes up ;)

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Please accept my apology, ricpic, but I'd rather not say, to preserve what remains of my internet anonymity. I've already put out sufficient information that anyone who knows me casually could piece it all together. That must sound rather grandiose and for that I apologize, as well.

I can say, however, that I bought a Scottish ale, in recognition of Robert Burns' birthday. That seems a safe enough thing to disclose.


ricpic said...

No haggis?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I actually like haggis, which to me seems pretty much the same thing as scrapple.

I fully appreciate that a great many people think scrapple is disgusting.

Icepick said...

On the internet, no one can hear you not laugh. Unless you're Skyping.

Icepick said...

Eric, a great many people KNOW scrapple is disgusting.

Darcy said...


Rabel said...

OK. OK. I can take a hint.

deborah said...

Scrapple. Disgusting yet delicious.

Chick's post is punishing in its directness.

Lem said...

I enjoy your comments Rabel. I've said so.

chickelit said...

@darcy: Sprezzatura!

Darcy said...

Those were the days, Chick. I want them back. :)

chickelit said...

"Oh my friend we're older but no wiser
For in our hearts the dreams are still the same