«El Cortesano» by Luis Milán (Valencia 1560), which was often previously seen as an almost documentary portrait of life at the Duque de Calabria’s Court in Valencia around 1535, has recently been the subject of new critical interpretations that emphasise the complex structure of this multi-dimensional work. In line with this new critical position, the present article highlights a certain ambiguity in the work deriving from the coexistence of discordant voices and of themes, characters and even styles, which hark back to various historical periods and produce a subtle effect of chronological, cultural and ideological displacement. In fact, between the lines of courtly dialogue, which evoke a familiar picture - part medieval, part renaissance - of palace feasting and entertainment, it is possible to discern almost surreptitious references to religious and political matters more closely connected with the age of Felipe II and with the date of the printing of the text. The existence of these different levels seems to suggest that there were different phases in the production of the text and to confirm the hypothesis of an elaborate writing process that took place over several decades.
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