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Friday, July 13, 2012

Courtly love

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relationship is modelled on the feudal relationship between a knight and his liege lord. The knight serves his courtly lady (love service) with the same obedience and loyalty which he owes to his liege lord. She is in complete control of the love relationship, while he owes her obedience and submission (a literary convention that did not correspond to actual practice!) The knights love for the lady inspires him to do great deeds, in order to be worthy of her love or to win her favor. Thus courtly love was originally construed as an ennobling force whether or not it was consummated, and even whether or not the lady knew about the knights love or loved him in return.


The courtly love relationship typically was not between husband and wife, not because the poets and the audience were inherently immoral, but because it was an idealized sort of relationship that could not exist within the context of real life medieval marriages. In the middle ages, marriages amongst the nobility were typically based on practical and dynastic concerns rather than on love. The idea that a marriage could be based on love (as in the Franklins Tale) was a radical notion. But the audience for romance was perfectly aware that these romances were fictions, not models for actual behavior. The adulterous aspect that bothers many 0th-century readers was somewhat beside the point, which was to explore the potential influence of love on human behavior.


Social historians such as Eric Köhler and Georges Duby have hypothesized that courtly love may have served a useful social purpose providing a model of behavior for a class of unmarried young men that might otherwise have threatened social stability. Knights were typically younger brothers without land of their own (hence unable to support a wife) who became members of the household of the feudal lords whom they served. One reason why the lady in the courtly love relationship is typically older, married and of higher social status than the knight may be because she was modelled on the wife of the feudal lord, who might naturally become the focus of the young, unmarried knights desire. Köhler and Duby posit that the literary model of the courtly love relationship may have been invented in part to provide these young men with a model for appropriate behavior, teaching them to sublimate their desires and to channel their energy into socially useful behavior (love service rather than wandering around the countryside, stealing or raping women like the knight in the Wife of Baths tale).


The behavior of the knight and lady in love was drawn partly from


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1. Thou shalt avoid avarice like the deadly pestilence and shalt embrace its opposite.


. Thou shalt keep thyself chaste for the sake of her whom thou lovest.


. Thou shalt not knowingly strive to break up a correct love affair that someone else is engaged in.


4. Thou shalt not chose for thy love anyone whom a natural sense of shame forbids thee to marry.


5. Be mindful completely to avoid falsehood.


6. Thou shalt not have many who know of thy love affair.


7. Being obedient in all things to the commands of ladies, thou shalt ever strive to ally thyself to the service of Love.


8. In giving and receiving loves solaces let modesty be ever present.


. Thou shalt speak no evil.


10. Thou shalt not be a revealer of love affairs.


11. Thou shalt be in all things polite and courteous.


1. In practising the solaces of love thou shalt not exceed the desires of thy lover.


The Art of Courtly Love


From The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus


1. Marriage is no real excuse for not loving.


. He who is not jealous cannot love.


. No one can be bound by a double love.


4. It is well known that love is always increasing or decreasing.


5. That which a lover takes against the will of his beloved has no relish.


6. Boys do not love until they reach the age of maturity.


7. When one lover dies, a widowhood of two years is required of the survivor.


8. No one should be deprived of love without the very best of reasons.


. No one can love unless he is propelled by the persuasion of love.


10. Love is always a stranger in the home of avarice.


11. It is not proper to love any woman whom one would be ashamed to seek to marry.


1. A true lover does not desire to embrace in love anyone except his beloved.


1. When made public love rarely endures.


14. The easy attainment of love makes it of little value difficulty of attainment makes it prized.


15. Every lover regularly turns pale in the presence of his beloved.


16. When a lover suddenly catches sight of his beloved his heart palpitates.


17. A new love puts an old one to flight.


18. Good character alone makes any man worthy of love.


1. If love diminishes, it quickly fails and rarely revives.


0. A man in love is always apprehensive.


1. Real jealousy always increases the feeling of love.


. Jealousy increases when one suspects his beloved.


. He whom the thought of love vexes eats and sleeps very little.


4. Every act of a lover ends in the thought of his beloved.


5. A true lover considers nothing good except what he thinks will please his beloved.


6. Love can deny nothing to love.


7. A lover can never have enough of the solaces of his beloved.


8. A slight presumption causes a lover to suspect his beloved.


. A man who is vexed by too much passion usually does not love.


0. A true lover is constantly and without intermission possessed by the thought of his beloved.


1. Nothing forbids one woman being loved by two men or one man by two women





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