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Behind The Mask Of Civility: Physiognomy And Unmasking In The Early Eighteenth-Century Dutch Republic

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Chapter Summary

Physiognomica, a medieval treatise, which argues that people with facial characteristics resembling certain animals also have characters similar to those of the animal their face resembles. This chapter restricts itself to the earlier eighteenth century and mainly approaches the sense of identity from the behavioral prescriptions and books of manners of the time. The first original Dutch manual of civility, Het groot ceremonie-boek der beschaafde zeden of 1735, explains the codes of behaviour for a masquerade. In the chapter, masking refers to the use of facial expression as a means to disguise one's nature, intentions or emotions. Self-knowledge is a requisite for self-control, which in turn is the foundation for civilized and sensible behaviour. The Great book of ceremony explains that: "civility is the fruit of a rightly shaped soul, which is in control; that is, which masters its own feelings and words"..

Keywords: behavioral; civility; Dutch republic; facial expression; Het groot ceremonie-boek der beschaafde zeden; Mask; physiognomy; self-control; self-knowledge; The Great book of ceremony



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