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 ?
Before exploring Austen's treatment of courtly love, we must have some understanding of what that concept means.
In the larger context of chivalric romance, the story of Troilus and Cressida in the play at least initially proceeds according to the motif of courtly love. Its conventional features include the intended but imperfectly achieved secrecy of their love; an agreed-upon go-between, or intermediary, namely, Pandar, long notorious for giving his name to the role (see The Winter's Tale); and the exchange of gifts or tokens.
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.
Here Spenser bids farewell to medieval courtly love, to:
While Queen Guinevere plays different roles in the different versions of the legend, we can spy the very beginning of Courtly love in the early works, namely in, Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia regum Britanniae, Lawman, Brut, The Vulgate, The Alliterative Poem Morte Arthure.
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.
With the Troubadours of medieval France, Eros is viewed as a binding force that tends to bridge the gap between sense and spirit within the periphery of courtly love (amour courtois)--a powerful plea for refined sensuality.
As it turned out, Rougemont's theory that the poetry of "courtly love" was rooted in neo-Manichean mysticism was discredited by later scholarship, which even called into question whether there really ever was such a thing as "courtly love" as Rougemont and others had described it.
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. Moreover, the texts exploring these ideas introduced new, generically hybrid forms that threw off the conventions of aristocratic and clerical tradition.
The Discourse of Courtly Love in Seventeenth-Century Spanish Theater.