(2). Courtly love ★ ★ ★
I. What is courtly love?
n Courtly or Chivalric Love, most often depicted in romances, was typically between knights and married ladies who were usually older and of higher social status. It originated with the so-called troubadours of the late eleventh century, which wrote almost entirely about sexual love.
n Then the Cult of the Virgin Mary got mixed in the courtly love a bit later.
n The “courtly love" relationship is modeled on the feudal relationship between a knight and his liege lord. The knight serves his courtly lady 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.
II. Five main attributes that characterize courtly love
n In essence, the courtly love relationship was:
n i. Aristocratic:
n As its name implies, courtly love was practiced by noble lords and ladies; its proper milieu was the royal palace or court.
n ii. Ritualistic:
n The lady was wooed according to elaborate conventions of etiquette (cf. "courtship" and "courtesy") and was the constant recipient of songs, poems, bouquets, sweet favors, and ceremonial gestures. For all these gentle and painstaking attentions on the part of her lover, she need only return a short hint of approval, a mere shadow of affection. After all, she was the exalted domina--the commanding "mistress" of the affair; he was but her servus--a lowly but faithful servant.
n iii. Secret:
n Courtly lovers were pledged to strict secrecy.
n iv. Adulterous:
n Courtly love was extramarital. Indeed one of its principle attractions was that it offered an escape from the dull routines and boring confinements of noble marriage (which was typically based on practical and dynastic concerns rather than on love). (来源：www.EnglishCN.com)
n v. Literary:
n Before it established itself as a popular real-life activity, courtly love first gained attention as a subject and theme in imaginative literature. Ardent knights, that is to say, and their passionately adored ladies were already popular figures in song and fable before they began spawning a host of real-life imitators in the palace halls and boudoirs of medieval Europe.
III. Three unique aspects of courtly love
n i. The ennobling force of human love
n Troubadour love poetry, although conceptually adulterous, inspired the man (and perhaps the woman) and ennobled the lover's character. The knight's love for the lady inspires him to do great deeds, in order to be worthy of her love or to win her favor.
n This power of transformation, of ennobling the character of the lover, is the distinguishing characteristic of Courtly Love. Courtly love is something entirely new in Europe, and the major source of our modern ideas about romantic love.
n ii. The elevation of the beloved above the lover
n iii. Love as ever unsatisfied, ever increasing desire
Further reading: Andrew the Chaplain – the code of Courtly Love
n Marie, Countess of Champagne (香巴尼), had Andrew the Chaplain, a cleric at the Court of Poitiers (波瓦第尔), write a formal code of love which would instruct people in the proper behavior of lovers as part of her attempts to civilize Poitiers. There are a total of 31 "rules." Such as:
How Love May be Retained
n Keep it secret
n Be wise and restrained in conduct
n Be generous and charitable
n Be humble, not proud
n Offer service to all ladies
n Do what is pleasing to your loved one
n Associate with good men; avoid the wicked
n Jealousy increases love
n →The Middle Ages, like today, had every variety of love, from the sacred to the profane.
Further reading: Andrew’s rules of love applied to Boccaccio’s DECAMERON
n Frederigo, a young gentleman, fell in love with Monna Giovanna, a beautiful, charming, married Florentine lady.
n Rule 1: Marriage is no real excuse for not loving
n Frederigo spent all his money on tournaments, jousting, hosting feasts and other extravagances, to win Monna Giovanna's love."
n Rule 10: Love is always a stranger in the home of avarice
n Rule 14: The easy attainment of love makes it of little value; difficulty of attainment makes it prized.
n She did not care for him or his spendthrift ways. He lost his wealth, retaining only one little farm and one falcon, "among the best in the world."
n Monna's husband died→ she and her son →living a year in the country near Frederigo's farm.
n The son & Frederigo & his falcon.
n The son fell very ill and asked his mother to get Frederigo's falcon for him, which he thought would surely make him get well. She hated to ask Frederigo for his last dear possession, but fear for her son's health led her to do it.
n She visited Frederigo's farm and told him that, to compensate him for the harm he had suffered on her account, she intended to dine with him that very day.
n He was super-courteous, and invited her to wait in the garden. There was no food in his house, so he killed the falcon to make a meal.
n Rule 24: Every act of a lover ends in the thought of his beloved.
n Rule 25: A true lover considers nothing good except what he thinks will please his beloved.
n Rule 26: Love can deny nothing to love.
n They ate and then she explained about her sick son and requested the falcon. Frederigo wept and revealed the truth. She praised his gracious spirit but reproached his killing the falcon for her meal. She went home; her son died a few days later.
n Eventually, her brothers wanted her to remarry, since she was young and rich; she said she would only marry Frederigo, which she did, and he was more prudent after that.
Frederigo and Monna Giovanna as Courtly Lovers
n love from a distance;
n love for an unattainable married lady;
n the lover gives up his all for love;
n the lover receives the final reward of the lady for such great courtesy
IV. A summary on courtly love
i. 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.
ii. Courtly love relationship, as it were, challenged and sought to redefine traditional Christian ideals of love, marriage, manhood, virtue, and femininity.
Further reading: traditional Christian ideas of love & women in medieval times
n Neither the Greeks nor the Romans thought that passionate love between the sexes could improve or transform the lovers. Rather, they thought of passionate love as either a punishment inflicted on men by the Gods, akin to madness, or as mere sensual gratification, not to be taken very seriously.
n While antiquity did not approve of passionate love between the sexes, Christianity absolutely deplored it:
n Even passionate love between spouses was considered theologically sinful, if unavoidable, until the thirteenth century when the Church began to modify its attitudes on this issue.
ii. Christian idea of womanhood: Eve/Mary dualism
n i. Misogynic position (the traditional church position, often expressed in medieval literature):
n women were inferior: from Adam's rib
n women were sinful: story of the Fall
n ii. Cult of Mary:
n However, Mary, with her holiness and ideal embodiment of ideal feminine traits, plays an important role in improving the images of medieval womanhood. The exaltation of the beatified Virgin Mary climaxed in the Marian cult or cult of the Virgin Mary, which influenced the literature, music and art of the high and late Middle Ages.
n This Eve/Mary dualism allowed and even encouraged conflicting attitudes toward medieval women:
n At the same time that people were praying to the Virgin Mary for salvation, they were condemning Eve for the Fall of Man. This dualistic religious attitude towards women offers us some insight into the curious mixture of love and religion, sex and purity we find in the courtly love poetry and stories of the Middle Ages.
n In a word, when a medieval passionate lover obediently subjects himself to the will of his beloved lady, he grants her a status which women did not enjoy either in Antiquity or in the Middle Ages.
6. Carolingian Renaissance: 101
n Charlemagne (742-814) was the most important figure of the early medieval period, who temporarily restored order in western and central Europe. As he wanted to rule as the emperors of Rome had done, he was eventually crowned “Emperor of the Romans” by the Pope in 800.
n Charlemagne encouraged interest in the Christian religion, and ancient learning by, for example, setting up monastery schools, giving support to scholars and setting scribes to work copying various ancient books. The result of Charlemagne’s efforts is usually called “Carolingian Renaissance,” with the term “Carolingian” derived from Charlemagne’s name in Latin, Carolus.
n The most interesting facet of this rather minor renaissance is the spectacle of Frankish or Germanic state reaching out to assimilate the riches of the Roman Classical and the Christianized Hebraic culture.