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Courtly Love: Reprise
Poster: REAMESD1@westat.com (REAMESD1)
Greetings from Caterina,
I heartily recommend to those interested (both pro and con) in the concept of
courtly love and in learning how and where it appeared in medieval life, that
you go to:
and read the truly excellent and enjoyable essay by Larry D. Benson "Courtly
Love and Chivalry in the Later Middle Ages"
This is the clearest, best written, and most amusing overview of the development
and evolution of Courtly Love I have ever seen.
Here are some tantalizing excerpts:
"The fact that prigs like Geoffrey de la Tour Landry and scoundrels like William
Gold could so easily use the
language of courtly love was one of its problems; the noble art of love
talking was all too open to abuse by clever
"By 1400 courtly love had become for many not just a way of talking but a way of
feeling and acting. Even in the 1340s,
Bradwardine tells us, French knights were actually laboring strenuously in
arms to earn the loves of their ladies, and Henry of Lancaster, so he confesses,
actually jousted to win the favors of those whom he seduced. A few years later,
Froissart reports, thirty English knights set off for the war in France, each
with an eye covered by a patch which he had sworn not to remove until he had
struck a blow for the love of his lady."
And, finally, the part that made me laugh out loud and read it to my coworkers:
"Henry VIII himself was trying to use the style of courtly love. Trying, but not
quite succeeding: his letter to
Anne Boleyn starts out well enough, with protestations of love and service,
but by the last line Henry is saying that
he wants to "kiss her duckies.""
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