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"THE word troubadour signifies an inventor, and is worthy of the subject to which it refers, as it expresses the genius of those poets, whose compositions are recorded in the following work." --The Literary History of the Troubadours (1779) by Sainte-Palaye in a translation by Susannah Dobson.

"Reality [of courtly love ] at all times has been worse and more brutal than the refined aestheticism of courtesy would have it be, but also more chaste than it is represented to be by the vulgar genre which is wrongly regarded as realism."--The Autumn of the Middle Ages (1919) by Johan Huizinga

"THE Word romantic has been lately introduced in Germany to designate that kind of poetry which is derived from the songs of the Troubadours; that which owes its birth to the union of chivalry and Christianity."--On Germany (1813) by Madame de Staël

"The Court of Champagne was familiar with the love poetry of the troubadours; and among other works well known to Chretien and his circle were certain free adaptations of classical poetry, which in the love passages were already steeped in the sentiment and casuistry of l'amour courtois." --The History of the English Novel (1924 - 1939) by Ernest Albert Baker

"Wayland Young seems to be an expert on Italian Renaissance poetry, his guiding line through the troubadour tradition is Denis de Rougemont."--Sholem Stein

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A troubadour was a composer and performer of Old Occitan lyric poetry during the High Middle Ages (1100–1350). Since the word troubadour is etymologically masculine, a female troubadour is usually called a trobairitz.

The troubadour school or tradition began in the late 11th century in Occitania, but it subsequently spread to the Italian and Iberian Peninsulas. Under the influence of the troubadours, related movements sprang up throughout Europe: the Minnesang in Germany, trovadorismo in Galicia and Portugal, and that of the trouvères in northern France. Dante Alighieri in his De vulgari eloquentia defined the troubadour lyric as fictio rethorica musicaque poita: rhetorical, musical, and poetical fiction. After the "classical" period around the turn of the 13th century and a mid-century resurgence, the art of the troubadours declined in the 14th century and around the time of the Black Death (1348) it died out.

The texts of troubadour songs deal mainly with themes of chivalry and courtly love. Most were metaphysical, intellectual, and formulaic. Many were humorous or vulgar satires.

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