- a highly stylized code of behavior popular chiefly from the 12th to the 14th century that prescribed the rules of conduct between lovers, advocating idealized but illicit love, and which fostered an extensive medieval literature based on this tradition.[1895-1900]
* * *Late-medieval code that prescribed the highly conventionalized behaviour and emotions of aristocratic ladies and their lovers.It was the theme of an extensive literature that began with late 11th-century troubadour poetry in France and swiftly pervaded Europe. The courtly lover, who saw himself as enslaved by passion but fired by respect, faithfully served and worshiped his lady-saint. Courtly love was invariably adulterous, largely because upper-class marriage at the time was usually the result of economic interest or the seal of a power alliance. Its literary sources are believed to be found in Arabic literature, transmitted to Europe through Arab-dominated Spain; the growing religious cult of Mary was another influence. Examples of works inspired by the ideal are the Roman de la rose, Petrarch's sonnets to Laura, Dante's Divine Comedy, and the lyrics of the trouvères and minnesingers. See also chivalry.
* * *French Amour Courtois,in the later Middle Ages, a highly conventionalized code that prescribed the behaviour of ladies and their lovers. Amour courtois also provided the theme of an extensive courtly medieval literature that began with the troubadour poetry of Aquitaine and Provence in southern France toward the end of the 11th century. It constituted a revolution in thought and feeling, the effects of which are still apparent in Western culture.The courtly lover existed to serve his lady. His love was invariably adulterous, marriage at that time being usually the result of business interest or the seal of a power alliance. Ultimately the lover saw himself as serving the all-powerful god of love and worshipping his lady-saint. Faithlessness was the mortal sin.The philosophy found little precedent in other, older cultures. Conditions in the castle civilization of 11th-century southern France, however, were favourable to a change of attitude toward women. Castles themselves housed many men, few women; poets, wishing to idealize physical passion, looked beyond the marriage state. The Roman poet Ovid undoubtedly provided inspiration in the developing concept of courtly love. His Ars amatoria had pictured a lover as the slave of passion—sighing, trembling, growing pale and sleepless, even dying for love. The Ovidian lover's adoration was calculated to win sensual rewards; the courtly lover, however, while displaying the same outward signs of passion, was fired by respect for his lady. This idealistic outlook may be explained partly by contemporary religious devotions, both orthodox and heretical, especially regarding the Virgin Mary, and partly by France's exposure to Arab mystical philosophy (gained through contacts with Islām during the Crusades), which embodied concepts of love—as a delightful disease, as demanding of faithful service—that were to characterize courtly love.Courtly love may therefore be regarded as the complex product of numerous factors—social, erotic, religious, and philosophical. The idea spread swiftly across Europe, and a decisive influence in this transmission was Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife first to Louis VII of France and then to Henry II of England, who inspired some of the best poetry of Bernard de Ventadour, among the last (12th century) and finest of troubadour poets. Her daughter Marie of Champagne encouraged the composition of Chrétien de Troyes's Lancelot (Le Chevalier de la charrette), a courtly romance whose hero obeys every imperious (and unreasonable) demand of the heroine. Soon afterward the doctrine was “codified” in a three-book treatise by André Le Chapelain (q.v.). In the 13th century a long allegorical poem, the Roman de la rose, expressed the concept of a lover suspended between happiness and despair.Courtly love soon pervaded the literatures of Europe. The German minnesinger (q.v.) lyrics and court epics such as Gottfried von Strassburg's Tristan und Isolde (c. 1210) are evidence of its power. Italian poetry embodied the courtly ideals as early as the 12th century, and during the 14th century their essence was distilled in Francesco Petrarch's sonnets to Laura. But perhaps more significantly, Dante had earlier managed to fuse courtly love and mystical vision: his Beatrice was, in life, his earthly inspiration; in La divina commedia (Divine Comedy, The) she became his spiritual guide to the mysteries of Paradise. Courtly love was also a vital influential force on most medieval literature in England, but there it came to be adopted as part of the courtship ritual leading to marriage. This development, discussed in C.S. Lewis' Allegory of Love (rev. ed., 1951), became more pronounced in later romances.
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Courtly love — God Speed! by Edmund Blair Leighton, 1900: a late Victorian view of a lady giving a favor to a knight about to do battle Courtly love was a medieval European conception of nobly and chivalrously expressing love and admiration. Generally,… … Wikipedia
courtly love — The term courtly love, generally used to describe a group of literary conventions common in western Europe in the later medieval period, was in fact never used in the Middle Ages. It was coined by the scholar Gaston Paris in 1883 to denote an… … Encyclopedia of medieval literature
Courtly Love — A term first used by Gaston Paris in 1883 article to describe the culture of love and system of love and adoration developed in Northern France during the late 12th century. Under this system, the lover, who pursued his illicit and passionate… … Medieval glossary
courtly love — noun (Middle Ages) a highly conventionalized code of conduct for lovers • Topics: ↑Middle Ages, ↑Dark Ages • Hypernyms: ↑code of conduct, ↑code of behavior * * * ˌcourtly ˈlove 7 [courtly love … Useful english dictionary
Courtly love — Modern term popularised by C. S. Lewis to describe the various kinds of love between man and woman described in the works of troubadours and others between the 11c and the 13c. The range of feeling ran from the dutiful respect owed a lord s wife … Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases
courtly love — noun a highly conventionalized medieval tradition of love between a knight and a married noblewoman … English new terms dictionary
courtly love — court′ly love′ n. lit. a highly stylized code of conduct between lovers, often the subject of medieval literature • Etymology: 1895–1900 … From formal English to slang
courtly love — /kɔtli ˈlʌv/ (say kawtlee luv) noun a medieval concept originating in the courts of southern France, which idealised illicit love, prescribed a highly conventionalised code of conduct for lovers, and gave rise to an extensive literature on the… … Australian English dictionary
courtly love — noun Date: 1702 a late medieval conventionalized code prescribing conduct and emotions of ladies and their lovers … New Collegiate Dictionary
courtly love — куртуазная любовь … Термины гендерных исследований