Courtly literature  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
courtly love


Literary convention

The literary convention of courtly love can be found in most of the major authors of the Middle Ages such as Geoffery Chaucer, John Gower, Dante, Marie de France, Chretien de Troyes, Gottfried von Strassburg and Malory.

The medieval genres in which courtly love conventions can be found include the lyric, the Romance and the allegory.


Courtly love was born in the lyric, first appearing with Provençal poets in the 11th century, including itinerant and courtly minstrels such as the French troubadours and trouvères. This French tradition spread later to the German Minnesänger, such as Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach.


The vernacular poetry of the romans courtois, or courtly romances, included many examples of courtly love. Some of them are set within the cycle of poems celebrating King Arthur's court. This was a literature of leisure, directed to a largely female audience for the first time in European history.


Medieval allegory has courtly love elements, for example the first part of The Romance of the Rose.


Perhaps the most important and popular work was that of Andreas Capellanus's De Amore which described the ars amandi ("the art of loving") in twelfth century Provence. His work followed in the tradition of the Roman work Ars amatoria ("Art of Love") by Ovid.

The themes of courtly love were not confined to the medieval, but seen both in serious and comic forms in Elizabethan times. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, for example, shows Romeo attempting to love Rosaline in an almost contrived courtly fashion while Mercutio mocks him for it.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Courtly literature" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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