courtly love


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courtly love,

philosophy of love and code of lovemaking that flourished in France and England during the Middle Ages. Although its origins are obscure, it probably derived from the works of Ovid, various Middle Eastern ideas popular at the time, and the songs of the troubadours. According to the code, a man falls passionately in love with a married woman of equal or higher rank. Before his love can be declared, he must suffer long months of silence; before it can be consummated, he must prove his devotion by noble service and daring exploits. The lovers eventually pledge themselves to secrecy and to remain faithful despite all obstacles. In reality, courtly love was little more than a set of rules for committing adultery. It was more important as a literary invention, expressed in such works as Chrétien de Troyes's Lancelot (12th cent.), Guillaume de Lorris's Roman de la Rose (13th cent.), and Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde (14th cent.). In these works it was the subjective presentation of the lovers' passion for each other and their consideration for other people that transformed the code of courtly love into one of the most important literary influences in Western culture. See chivalrychivalry
, system of ethical ideals that arose from feudalism and had its highest development in the 12th and 13th cent.

Chivalric ethics originated chiefly in France and Spain and spread rapidly to the rest of the Continent and to England.
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Bibliography

See J. M. Ferrante and G. D. Economou, ed., In Pursuit of Perfection: Courtly Love in Medieval Literature (1975); N. B. Smith and J. T. Snow, ed., The Expansion and Transformation of Courtly Literature (1980).

References in periodicals archive ?
Tin argues that the Middle Ages represented a transitional period during which an ancient warrior celebration of homosocial male bonds was eclipsed by a new emphasis on heterosexuality manifested in the emerging ideals of courtly love and the chivalric code.
Renata and Cantwell alternate between the languages of courtly love and carnal desire not only during the Colonel's war recollections, but also in private moments of physical intimacy.
It is a very high toned, courtly love song between "a courtier and his beloved - unattainable as always.
Here Spenser bids farewell to medieval courtly love, to:
If Gawain's inveterate tendency to flirt with every young woman he meets constitutes a reprehensible attitude in the eyes of the Church, the principles of fin'amor, 'serious' courtly love, are downright scandalous, since this perfect love is necessarily adulterous, and the lover is nevertheless obliged to submit entirely to the whims of his lady.
In doing so, Yeats replaced the muse and his role as a courtly love poet for the " friendly serviceable woman" who opened the world of the unconscious to him with her automatic writing.
The third chapter under the title Courtly Love: Passion and the Poetry of Troubadours tends to analyze the origin and elaboration of the medieval concept of courtly love as developed by the Troubadours of the high Middle Ages.
The poem implies that the genres of courtly love lyrics and political propaganda are so similar in spirit that someone who has learned to write one kind of poem can easily write the other.
The holiday first became associated with romantic love in the time of Geoffrey Chaucer in the Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love f lourished.
Since marriage could involve a horizontal, mutual view of social relations, it provided an embryonic social vision, and, Lipton argues, marriage itself was the middle-strata alternative to the aristocratic adultery of courtly love.
The Discourse of Courtly Love in Seventeenth-Century Spanish Theater.
THE manuscript attribution of "Na Maria, pretz e fina valors" to Bietris de Roman has caused no small amount of controversy among critics, for even those who accept the attribution often struggle to account for what appears to be the sole Occitan canso, or courtly love lyric, written by one woman for another.