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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Courtly love   Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:42 pm

Reading a novel about the 11th century in which the chidren crusade is among others central to the narration...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children%27s_Crusade
In the novel it is about Nicholas of Cologne:
"Germany – Nicholas of Cologne[edit]
In the first movement, Nicholas, a shepherd from the Rhineland in Germany[3] who possessed an extraordinary eloquence, tried to lead a group across the Alps and into Italy in the early spring of 1212. Nicholas promised that the sea would dry up before them and allow his followers to cross into the Holy Land. Rather than intending to fight the Saracens, he said that the Muslim kingdoms would be defeated when their citizens converted to Christianity.[3] His disciples went off to preach the call for the "Crusade" across the German lands, and they massed in Cologne after a few weeks. Splitting into two groups, the crowds took different roads through Switzerland. Two out of every three people on this ghastly journey died, while many others returned to their homes.[3] About 7,000 arrived in Genoa in late August. They immediately marched to the harbor, expecting the sea to divide before them; when it did not many became bitterly disappointed. A few accused Nicholas of betraying them, while others settled down to wait for God to change his mind, since they believed that it was unthinkable he would not eventually do so. The Genoese authorities were impressed by the little band, and they offered citizenship to those who wished to settle in their city. Most of the would-be Crusaders took up this opportunity.[3] Nicholas refused to admit defeat and traveled to Pisa, his movement continuing to break up along the way. He and a few loyal followers continued to the Papal States, where Pope Innocent III treated them kindly. The remaining ones departed for Germany after the Pontiff exhorted them to be good and to return home to their families. Nicholas did not survive the second attempt across the Alps; back home his father was arrested and hanged under pressure from angry families whose relatives had perished while following the child.[3]
Some of the most dedicated members of this Crusade were later reported to have wandered to Ancona and Brindisi; none are known to have reached the Holy Land.[3]"

And the novel depicts also the most dedicated members reported to have wandered to Brindisi...

But that is not the subject of my message....

In the novel one knight is in the service of a German noble. The knight is seeking for the daughter of the lord, who is lurred by Nicholas of Cologne, but interwoven in the narrative is also his encounter with ladies and the theme of courtly love.

I did in the time already some research on the old BBC board about "courtly love" but yesterday I went a lot further, because it seems that ther is a lot of controversy about what courtly love indeed was and also related the "love service" (in Dutch: they call it "vrouwendienst" (women service)...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courtly_love
http://public.wsu.edu/~delahoyd/medieval/love.html
http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/cs6/love.html

As I understand it well the author of the book says that courtly love was a fiction and that it was only a set of courtlyness in a frame to add to the customs of the medieval nobilty?
https://goo.gl/quQJNq

Also this:
http://cola.calpoly.edu/~dschwart/engl513/courtly/courtly.htm


If someone has as I access to JStor?
http://www.jstor.org/stable/537601?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents


Kind regards, Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Fri Jun 10, 2016 10:31 pm

I read now the whole JStor article and as usual I think it put courtly love in the real context. A set of behaviours that later in the Western society would end as courtlyness, good manners, etiquette and for all a courtly behaviour towards ladies. After you please, madame...
A behaviour that seems to be unique to western civilisation...

Kind regards, Paul.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Sat Jun 11, 2016 5:28 pm

@PaulRyckier wrote:
I read now the whole JStor article and as usual I think it put courtly love in the real context. A set of behaviours that later in the Western society would end as courtlyness, good manners, etiquette and for all a courtly behaviour towards ladies. After you please, madame...
A behaviour that seems to be unique to western civilisation...

Kind regards, Paul.
A form of behaviour which is nowadays likely to earn the unsuspecting male an earful of abuse - or even an earful of feminine fist/handbag/other blunt instrument. BTW - not sure if the sleeve notes/book from David Munrow's "The Art of Courtly Love" exist anywhere online - they do give an insight into the birth of "Courtly Love" as an ethic.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:48 pm

Gil,

"BTW - not sure if the sleeve notes/book from David Munrow's "The Art of Courtly Love" exist anywhere online - they do give an insight into the birth of "Courtly Love" as an ethic."

I did a bit of research online and only found about the music...
http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=69422
https://www.amazon.com/Art-Courtly-Love-David-Munrow/dp/B000FTNKHG?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*= 0

From the first link: I listened to nearly Wink  all the medieval music, but I have to say it seems not to be "my" thing. The only snippets i could appreciate and even that Wink  were the dances. And the "motet seems a bit better than the "ballad" and the "virulay". The "rondeau" is also not my taste...
La Septime estampie Real (dance) (1973 Digital Remaster)
Estampies real: no 7
 by Anonymous
Performer:  David Munrow (Shawm), David Corkhill (Nakers)
Conductor:  David Munrow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Early Music Consort of London
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; France 
Date of Recording: 1972-73 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs.
Istampitta Tre fontane (dance) (1973 Digital Remaster)

Istampitta Tre fontane by Anonymous
Performer:  James Tyler (Citole), Oliver Brookes (Crwth), David Corkhill (Nakers)
Conductor:  David Munrow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Early Music Consort of London
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century 
Date of Recording: 1972-73 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 5 Secs.


And about David Munrow:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Munrow

It is to be said that Munrow played with remakes of the medieval instruments, although a commentator on the Amazon book said that nowadays with the recent research there are better instruments...

Hearing the ballads, motets and all I wondered how nowadays people can reconstruct the medieval voices...but perhaps the human voice isn't that much changed over the centuries...after all the physical instrument in our throat isn't changed either...?

Gil,

"A form of behaviour which is nowadays likely to earn the unsuspecting male an earful of abuse - or even an earful of feminine fist/handbag/other blunt instrument"


Yesterday reading all the stuff about "courtly love" I tried to "analyse" myself, why in the presence of a beautiful woman...and she hasn't even to be beautiful, although it adds...a woman with character, wit and intelligence fit also the requirements... I am so inclined to be polite, courtless, submissive, even doing more for her than I would do for a male counterpart Wink
We as men among each other Wink ...not sure if in the deepest of my conscience there is not some "sexual" attraction too...

But how medieval (when I type "medieval" overhere there always (and always appears always with a capital) appears an "umlaut" above the "e" and I have to correct both before they appear in the right manner...Nordmann?) knights felt about all these psychological interferences is in my opinion a great questionmark...?
In fact the thinking world was from childhood on influenced by the contemporary environment...and that environment contained the strong customs from the catholic church, the dependencies of the vassal/lord relationship and yes the mores from that particular time...
All in my humble opinion...

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Sat Jun 11, 2016 11:25 pm

Paul :
I suppose the height of musical art from that period is to be found in the masses - many built on a "cantus firmus" in the tenor which is often a secular song (doubt if you could do that with many modern pop songs - though a 12-bar blues might be an interesting experiment). Try this by Dufay (Burgundian court musician). 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibSeyIbNGYA
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Sun Jun 12, 2016 11:19 pm

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
Paul :
I suppose the height of musical art from that period is to be found in the masses - many built on a "cantus firmus" in the tenor which is often a secular song (doubt if you could do that with many modern pop songs - though a 12-bar blues might be an interesting experiment). Try this by Dufay (Burgundian court musician). 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibSeyIbNGYA


Gil,

started to listen but in the Youtubes aside there was for I don't know what reason a song of the choir of the Red Army and I listened the whole evening to these songs and related ones... Embarassed
And among these songs there were many Hebrew songs mixed in between...I suppose from the Russian community in Israel...and many well known Russian songs were translated in Hebrew...and I have to say that Hebrew with its many voyels sonds a bit like Russian...test it yourself...

Your friend Paul, who is always distracted (abducted Wink ) by "asides"...
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:26 am

Paul wrote:
A set of behaviours that later in the Western society would end as courtlyness, good manners, etiquette and for all a courtly behaviour towards ladies. After you please, madame...
A behaviour that seems to be unique to western civilisation...

"Courtly", as you have used it, can be taken to mean both courtesy and courtship. This may not have been intentional on your part, Paul, but in fact their root is a common one and they are in fact traditionally linked to a high degree, so I'll address both in the one answer if that's ok with you.

What you're talking about is a set of imposed behavioural norms, directed principally towards men with regard to practice and to women regarding compliance, based largely on perceived sexual roles in society. As I assume you are addressing primarily rules of courtship and courtesy which applied in your own experience growing up, and with which you were obliged to be familiar, then I agree that recent decades have seen a radical shift within that same society away from what once were rather standard behavioural norms. In the case of what you (and many of us) were told represented courteous - a crucial element of courtly - behaviour in "Western Society" many of these norms were indeed courteous, and in fact equally as courteous if exhibited towards members of the same sex. Many were difficult to explain as naturally courteous, the courtesy arising from the rule rather than from the action. And many were simply not courteous at all, particularly when analysed in the context of the other sex's right to be treated equally.

When applied within rules of courtship the courtesy was intended to confirm "honourable" intent, expectation and hope on the male's part regarding securing his mating partner, but this only confirms that the actual courtesy involved played much less a role than the perception of courtesy many of these rules implied, even when they quite comprehensively failed to support or justify this perception if analysed dispassionately. Their importance however, and indeed their chances of becoming cultural norms, were enhanced and apparently confirmed through their role in this mating procedure.

I would also dispute the "Western Civilization" aspect to your remark - not just that courtly behaviour is exclusive to this section of society globally, but also that all those societies which are traditionally included in the term exhibit similar patterns of imposed behaviour in this respect. On the first point one needs only look at Japanese tradition to find one glaring refutation of the claim, and on the other point one only needs to examine the culturally imposed differences between, say, Greek and WASP American courtship behaviour (and indeed assessments of courtesy) to see that so-called "Western Civilization" encompasses many contradictory modes of behaviour and attitude, so many in fact that one is loath to infer any unifying factor of the definition of the term "civilization" in that context from behavioural norms alone, or in fact at all.
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:04 pm

No one has yet mentioned the troubadours … the popular Occitan tradition of lyric poetry whose songs/poems deal primarily with themes of chivalry and courtly love.

These seem to have been largely a southern French cultural movement which became established, perhaps deliberately, as a counter-point to the more macho, might-is-right, ethos of northern France/England/Germany. I know that is putting it very, very simplistically, but there does seem to have been for a time (circa 1100-1300) a very clear cultural distinction between southern and northern France (which incidentally is still clearly reflected in language). The Occitan troubadour tradition is the cultural well-spring from which came, amongst other great works, Dante's 'Divine Comedy', as well as Mallory's 'Morte d’Arthur', in which as you will recall Gueneviere is not simply a prize to be won, but is a key player herself, fully cognisant of her role, destiny and power within the story.

I’m not suggesting that twelth century Occitania was a haven of feminist tolerance and equal opportunities, but it is noticeable how many "powerful" women, (eg Eleandor of Aquitane) grew up there.

But I also note that the Cathars - who depending on one's viewpoint, were either terrible heretics, misguided fundamentalists, or just an unorthodox, rather odd christian sect - found the south of France and neighbouring northern Italy very fertile ground for their preaching. Their doctrine deemed women equal, albeit different, to men, but anyone, male and female alike could become "parfaits". Their movement appealed to rich and poor, peasant and noble alike, and indeed some of its greatest champions were the local southern French nobility, such as Raymond V, Count of Toulouse, ... whose wife, incidentally, competently took over command of the beseiged city's defence after her husband was captured and killed by that thug, Simon de Montfort.
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:02 pm

I remember being very shocked by C.S. Lewis on Courtly Love (you may laugh at all his Narnia "nonsense", but the man knew his medieval literature, and Lewis's The Allegory of Love is still required reading for Eng. Lit. undergraduates). Lewis's verdict was that Courtly Love was all about "service, humility and adultery".

Chaucer satirizes the whole idea - seeThe Miller's Tale and The Merchant's Tale. Courtly Love was sometimes simply an elaborate cover-up for aristocratic sexual shenanigans, heterosexual or otherwise. The "princesse lointaine" - the "chaste object" - was not always what she appeared to be; and neither was her courtly "lover". The Miller's crude story is a very funny parody of it all. Courtly love hoi polloi style.


Last edited by Temperance on Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:11 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:10 pm

The troubador tradition was only one of at least 3 such schools - the northern French (langue d'oïl) Trouveres (of whom Richard I was one), and the German Minnesingers - culminating with Frauenlob, working in "mittelhochdeutsch". Again, Munrow has interesting examples in "Music of the Crusades", such as this one : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCwnm38ULZc
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:12 pm

@Meles meles wrote:
No one has yet mentioned the troubadours … the popular Occitan tradition of lyric poetry whose songs/poems deal primarily with themes of chivalry and courtly love.

These seem to have been largely a southern French cultural movement which became established, perhaps deliberately, as a counter-point to the more macho, might-is-right, ethos of northern France/England/Germany. I know that is putting it very, very simplistically, but there does seem to have been for a time (circa 1100-1300) a very clear cultural distinction between southern and northern France (which incidentally is still clearly reflected in language). The Occitan troubadour tradition is the cultural well-spring from which came, amongst other great works, Dante's 'Divine Comedy', as well as Mallory's 'Morte d’Arthur', in which as you will recall Gueneviere is not simply a prize to be won, but is a key player herself, fully cognisant of her role, destiny and power within the story.

I’m not suggesting that twelth century Occitania was a haven of feminist tolerance and equal opportunities, but it is noticeable how many "powerful" women, (eg Eleandor of Aquitane) grew up there.

But I also note that the Cathars - who depending on one's viewpoint, were either terrible heretics, misguided fundamentalists, or just an unorthodox, rather odd christian sect - found the south of France and neighbouring northern Italy very fertile ground for their preaching. Their doctrine deemed women equal, albeit different, to men, but anyone, male and female alike could become "parfaits". Their movement appealed to rich and poor, peasant and noble alike, and indeed some of its greatest champions were the local southern French nobility, such as Raymond V, Count of Toulouse, ... whose wife, incidentally, competently took over command of the beseiged city's defence after her husband was captured and killed by that thug, Simon de Montfort.
 
Meles meles,

"No one has yet mentioned the troubadours … the popular Occitan tradition of lyric poetry whose songs/poems deal primarily with themes of chivalry and courtly love"

I mentioned them indirectly in my links as the origin of the courtly love stories and all the songs that Gil mentined were indeed from the South French troubadours...

"These seem to have been largely a southern French cultural movement which became established, perhaps deliberately, as a counter-point to the more macho, might-is-right, ethos of northern France/England/Germany. I know that is putting it very, very simplistically, but there does seem to have been for a time (circa 1100-1300) a very clear cultural distinction between southern and northern France (which incidentally is still clearly reflected in language). The Occitan troubadour tradition is the cultural well-spring from which came, amongst other great works, Dante's 'Divine Comedy', as well as Mallory's 'Morte d’Arthur', in which as you will recall Gueneviere is not simply a prize to be won, but is a key player herself, fully cognisant of her role, destiny and power within the story.
I’m not suggesting that twelth century Occitania was a haven of feminist tolerance and equal opportunities, but it is noticeable how many "powerful" women, (eg Eleandor of Aquitane) grew up there."

Yes you are right the origins were in the Provence, but as Gil rightly remarked there was nearly immediately a replica in the North of France with the "trouvères" and in Germany with the "Minnesänger"...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trouv%C3%A8re
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesang

 The German one is much more in depth:
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesang
"Französische Vorbilder
Die ersten bezeugten Minnesänger sind die Trobadors in Südfrankreich. Die Sprache ihrer Lieder wird in moderner Zeit oft als Provenzalisch bezeichnet, wobei darunter aber nicht der okzitanische Dialekt der Provence, sondern eine Art okzitanische Koine oder Literatursprache zu verstehen ist, die Elemente aus verschiedenen okzitanischen Dialekten aufnimmt. Der Minnesang der südfranzösischen Trobadors, später auch der nordfranzösische der Trouvères, hat wesentlichen Einfluss auf die Anfänge des deutschen Minnesangs"
Here the German wiki says that the language is nowadays coined as Provencal but in fact was it a literary language which was composed by several Occitan dialects in a kind of Occitan Koine...
And further:
The love songs from the Troubadours of the South France and later on the Trouvères of the North of France have a profound influence on the start of the German "Minnesang"...
Yes, and one speaks perhaps only of a delay of a mere thirty years, but recently we had in the time frame of a thirty years two world wars which shaped the world for quite a period...

On the German wiki there is also a whole part about the courtly love, which sees it as real fictional and not releted to real circumstances...but too tire to translate all the German, for those who understand German:
"Soziologie
Minnesang versteht sich wesentlich als ritterliche Liebhaberei und innerhalb der höfischen Ritterkultur als Konkurrenz hochadeliger Ritter untereinander – analog zu den anderen Formen des Wettkampfes, etwa dem Turnier.
Der geglückte Vortrag eines Minneliedes durch einen Ritter ist in erster Linie als kultureller Kompetenzbeweis zu begreifen – ähnlich einem Jagderfolg oder einem Sieg im Ritterturnier auf sportlichem Gebiet. Das Lied richtet sich an eine verehrte Dame der Gesellschaft (Frauendienst), ist jedoch kein Ausdruck lebensweltlicher Verhältnisse. Eine biografische Authentizität, wie sie die allerfrüheste Literaturforschung annahm, ist zwar nicht grundsätzlich und in allen Fällen auszuschließen, dürfte aber nur eine geringe Rolle gespielt haben: Minnesang ist kein romantischer Gefühlsausdruck, auch keine Erlebnislyrik, sondern ein ritterlich-ethisch geprägtes Sprach- und Musik-Ritual – vergleichbar der dem Minnesang in Italien folgenden petrarkistischen Liebeslyrik des dolce stil nuovo seit Francesco Petrarca in der strengen Form des Sonetts, die nun, in der beginnenden Renaissance, allerdings nicht mehr dem adeligen Ritter oblag."

"But I also note that the Cathars - who depending on one's viewpoint, were either terrible heretics, misguided fundamentalists, or just an unorthodox, rather odd christian sect - found the south of France and neighbouring northern Italy very fertile ground for their preaching. Their doctrine deemed women equal, albeit different, to men, but anyone, male and female alike could become "parfaits". Their movement appealed to rich and poor, peasant and noble alike, and indeed some of its greatest champions were the local southern French nobility, such as Raymond V, Count of Toulouse, ... whose wife, incidentally, competently took over command of the beseiged city's defence after her husband was captured and killed by that thug, Simon de Montfort."

Yes I studied the Cathars for the former BBC board and later on for a French messageboard, and you are right they were a kind of communists? communes?  where everyone was alike. Allthough I suppose there were some more "alike" than the others Wink ...knowing the human nature Wink ...

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:13 pm

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
The troubador tradition was only one of at least 3 such schools - the northern French (langue d'oïl) Trouveres (of whom Richard I was one), and the German Minnesingers - culminating with Frauenlob, working in "mittelhochdeutsch". Again, Munrow has interesting examples in "Music of the Crusades", such as this one : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCwnm38ULZc

 Gil, see my message to Meles meles. Regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:30 pm

@nordmann wrote:
Paul wrote:
A set of behaviours that later in the Western society would end as courtlyness, good manners, etiquette and for all a courtly behaviour towards ladies. After you please, madame...
A behaviour that seems to be unique to western civilisation...

"Courtly", as you have used it, can be taken to mean both courtesy and courtship. This may not have been intentional on your part, Paul, but in fact their root is a common one and they are in fact traditionally linked to a high degree, so I'll address both in the one answer if that's ok with you.

What you're talking about is a set of imposed behavioural norms, directed principally towards men with regard to practice and to women regarding compliance, based largely on perceived sexual roles in society. As I assume you are addressing primarily rules of courtship and courtesy which applied in your own experience growing up, and with which you were obliged to be familiar, then I agree that recent decades have seen a radical shift within that same society away from what once were rather standard behavioural norms. In the case of what you (and many of us) were told represented courteous - a crucial element of courtly - behaviour in "Western Society" many of these norms were indeed courteous, and in fact equally as courteous if exhibited towards members of the same sex. Many were difficult to explain as naturally courteous, the courtesy arising from the rule rather than from the action. And many were simply not courteous at all, particularly when analysed in the context of the other sex's right to be treated equally.

When applied within rules of courtship the courtesy was intended to confirm "honourable" intent, expectation and hope on the male's part regarding securing his mating partner, but this only confirms that the actual courtesy involved played much less a role than the perception of courtesy many of these rules implied, even when they quite comprehensively failed to support or justify this perception if analysed dispassionately. Their importance however, and indeed their chances of becoming cultural norms, were enhanced and apparently confirmed through their role in this mating procedure.

I would also dispute the "Western Civilization" aspect to your remark - not just that courtly behaviour is exclusive to this section of society globally, but also that all those societies which are traditionally included in the term exhibit similar patterns of imposed behaviour in this respect. On the first point one needs only look at Japanese tradition to find one glaring refutation of the claim, and on the other point one only needs to examine the culturally imposed differences between, say, Greek and WASP American courtship behaviour (and indeed assessments of courtesy) to see that so-called "Western Civilization" encompasses many contradictory modes of behaviour and attitude, so many in fact that one is loath to infer any unifying factor of the definition of the term "civilization" in that context from behavioural norms alone, or in fact at all.
 Nordmann,

""Courtly", as you have used it, can be taken to mean both courtesy and courtship. This may not have been intentional on your part, Paul, but in fact their root is a common one and they are in fact traditionally linked to a high degree, so I'll address both in the one answer if that's ok with you.

What you're talking about is a set of imposed behavioural norms, directed principally towards men with regard to practice and to women regarding compliance, based largely on perceived sexual roles in society. As I assume you are addressing primarily rules of courtship and courtesy which applied in your own experience growing up, and with which you were obliged to be familiar, then I agree that recent decades have seen a radical shift within that same society away from what once were rather standard behavioural norms. In the case of what you (and many of us) were told represented courteous - a crucial element of courtly - behaviour in "Western Society" many of these norms were indeed courteous, and in fact equally as courteous if exhibited towards members of the same sex. Many were difficult to explain as naturally courteous, the courtesy arising from the rule rather than from the action. And many were simply not courteous at all, particularly when analysed in the context of the other sex's right to be treated equally.

When applied within rules of courtship the courtesy was intended to confirm "honourable" intent, expectation and hope on the male's part regarding securing his mating partner, but this only confirms that the actual courtesy involved played much less a role than the perception of courtesy many of these rules implied, even when they quite comprehensively failed to support or justify this perception if analysed dispassionately. Their importance however, and indeed their chances of becoming cultural norms, were enhanced and apparently confirmed through their role in this mating"

in these two paragraphs you seems to have approached correctly the whole subject of nowadays "courtly" behaviour and yes you are right it is more a set of imposed behavioural norms with which we were grown up.

"And many were simply not courteous at all, particularly when analysed in the context of the other sex's right to be treated equally. "

Yes there you can have a point too...although from my childhood experience I remember quite a lot of relation where the woman was the man...

Have to halt till next day...the wife is calling to go to sleep...

Kind regards,

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:30 pm

Nordmann, for the umpteenth time I lost my message when returning to my message...no mode specified...and my message gone... Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

I start again...


Nordmann, excuses for the delay...the day before yesterday a heavy dinner late in the night...and yesterday evening a bit ill...perhaps from the heavy dinner the day before  Wink ...

Back to the thread...

"I would also dispute the "Western Civilization" aspect to your remark - not just that courtly behaviour is exclusive to this section of society globally, but also that all those societies which are traditionally included in the term exhibit similar patterns of imposed behaviour in this respect. On the first point one needs only look at Japanese tradition to find one glaring refutation of the claim, and on the other point one only needs to examine the culturally imposed differences between, say, Greek and WASP American courtship behaviour (and indeed assessments of courtesy) to see that so-called "Western Civilization" encompasses many contradictory modes of behaviour and attitude, so many in fact that one is loath to infer any unifying factor of the definition of the term "civilization" in that context from behavioural norms alone, or in fact at all."

I don't fully understand your sentence: " On the first point one needs only look at Japanese tradition to find one glaring refutation of the claim, and on the other point one only needs to examine the culturally imposed differences between, say, Greek and WASP American courtship behaviour (and indeed assessments of courtesy) to see that so-called "Western Civilization" encompasses many contradictory modes of behaviour and attitude, so many in fact that one is loath to infer any unifying factor of the definition of the term "civilization" in that context from behavioural norms alone, or in fact at all."

"On the first point one needs only look at Japanese tradition to find one glaring refutation of the claim,"

Refutation of what claim?

As I understand it: refutation of: "but also that all those societies which are traditionally included in the term exhibit similar patterns of imposed behaviour in this respect. "

But I don't follow you over here or perhaps I have misinterpreted your sentence?

In Japan and China there is in my opinion just a break with the tradition, the first due to the Americans after WWII and in China due to the Communists after 1949...?
http://www.japanpowered.com/japan-culture/gender-roles-women-modern-japan
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_China


Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:44 pm

You may, Paul, find this of interest - my mention of C.S. Lewis above was absolutely serious, you know.

https://ddthesis.wordpress.com/2007/10/14/10/


The blog reminds us that of all the traits of Courtly Love, one of the most baffling, considering that it emerged from Christendom, is its adulterous and illicit nature. Of the Adulterous tenor, Lewis has this to say:


“Two things prevented the men of that age from connecting their ideal of romantic and passionate love with marriage. The first is, of course, the actual practice of feudal society. Marriages had nothing to do with love, and no ‘nonsense’ about marriage was tolerated. All matches were matches of interest, and, worse still, of an interest that was continually changing. When the alliance which had answered would answer no longer, the husband’s object was to get rid of the lady as quickly as possible. Marriages were frequently dissolved. The same woman who was the lady and the ‘dearest dread’ of her vassals was often little better than a piece of property to her husband…Any idealization of sexual love, in a society where marriage is purely utilitarian, must begin by being an idealization of adultery.“(Lewis, C.S.. Allegory of Love. Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1936. pg.13.)

But then we should remember that all sex was sin - that was the medieval view - whether the sex was within marriage or not. Augustine ruled. People cannot get their heads around that these days.

Lacan has written on this subject - woman as Das Ding (that's Freud's expression and a lovely bit of German alliteration). This article is beyond me, but there are some around here who might be able to explain it:

https://santitafarella.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/courtly-love-or-woman-as-thing-how-to-do-lacanian-analysis-like-slavoj-zizek-or-at-least-understand-what-hes-getting-at/
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:04 pm

@Temperance wrote:
I remember being very shocked by C.S. Lewis on Courtly Love (you may laugh at all his Narnia "nonsense", but the man knew his medieval literature, and Lewis's The Allegory of Love is still required reading for Eng. Lit. undergraduates). Lewis's verdict was that Courtly Love was all about "service, humility and adultery".

Chaucer satirizes the whole idea - seeThe Miller's Tale and The Merchant's Tale. Courtly Love was sometimes simply an elaborate cover-up for aristocratic sexual shenanigans, heterosexual or otherwise. The "princesse lointaine" - the "chaste object" - was not always what she appeared to be; and neither was her courtly "lover". The Miller's crude story is a very funny parody of it all. Courtly love hoi polloi style.

Temperance, you are quite right that Chaucer on the whole takes the mick out of Courtly Love, but as I'm sure you know he does treat it seriously in "The Knight's Tale" - all that stuff about the tale fitting the teller.

Oh Gilgamesh, years ago I lived near enough to where I then worked to get home in time to hear "Pied Piper" with David Munrow (albeit it was aimed primarily at children) on the radio.  It was indeed a sad day when he decided life was too much for him.
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Fri Jun 17, 2016 6:21 pm

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
@Temperance wrote:
I remember being very shocked by C.S. Lewis on Courtly Love (you may laugh at all his Narnia "nonsense", but the man knew his medieval literature, and Lewis's The Allegory of Love is still required reading for Eng. Lit. undergraduates). Lewis's verdict was that Courtly Love was all about "service, humility and adultery".

Chaucer satirizes the whole idea - seeThe Miller's Tale and The Merchant's Tale. Courtly Love was sometimes simply an elaborate cover-up for aristocratic sexual shenanigans, heterosexual or otherwise. The "princesse lointaine" - the "chaste object" - was not always what she appeared to be; and neither was her courtly "lover". The Miller's crude story is a very funny parody of it all. Courtly love hoi polloi style.

Temperance, you are quite right that Chaucer on the whole takes the mick out of Courtly Love, but as I'm sure you know he does treat it seriously in "The Knight's Tale" - all that stuff about the tale fitting the teller.




There's a revisionist view of everything, LiR, including the very parfit, gentil knight and his courtly tale. Chaucer was a supreme ironist, remember: Terry Jones has  suggested (see PS below) that the Knight was actually - like most knights in the 14th century - little more than an aristocratic thug, all the chivalry and courtly love stuff notwithstanding. Chaucer is tricky - one is never quite sure whether he has a snook to cock, or not. He laughs at just about everyone. It's perhaps no coincidence that the Miller, who is so drunk he can hardly sit on his horse, comes out with his very funny, vulgar and down-to-earth tale straight after the Knight has finished his "noble storie", much to the Host's embarrassment.

This article may be of interest:


http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/1057

Many years ago this reviewer attended a meeting of the Cambridge interdisciplinary medievalists’ group at which Terry Jones, who had recently published his debunking book on Chaucer’s knight, crossed swords with Derek Brewer, then the foremost Chaucerian scholar, in front of an audience which included numbers of the university’s teachers of medieval English literature. Once this audience started chipping in and the discussion became more general, the historians grew increasingly restive and their unease was finally expressed by the then Professor of Medieval History, J. C. Holt, who said with characteristic bluntness, ‘It seems to me that the problem with this entire discussion is that no-one has tried to define irony’. And that really summed up the frustration experienced by many historians when reading studies of medieval literature: that there is little or no attempt to retrieve the mindset of those who wrote it or for whom it was written and that too much is refracted through the modern prejudices and assumptions of the critic. Indeed, irony itself is central both to Jones’s reassessment of how we are to view Chaucer’s knight and to Chaucerian studies more generally. As Rigby points out, the belief that great art is differentiated from lesser works by being subversive, sceptical, ironic has been applied with particular force to Chaucer by a wide variety of critical schools. That this includes the New Historicists, who purport to place literary works within their historical contexts, is one of the abiding mysteries of modern literary criticism.

Chaucer’s The Knight’s Tale, even more than the pen-portrait of the teller, has been subjected to contrary interpretations. What Rigby sets out to do is to bring a historian’s trained eye or, as he puts it, quoting an art historian, ‘a period eye’ (p. 10) to his analysis by using writings with which Chaucer would have been directly or indirectly familiar...



PS Terry Jones' Chaucer's Knight: The Portrait of a Medieval Mercenary (1980), which offers an alternative take on Geoffrey Chaucer's The Knight's Tale. Chaucer's knight is often interpreted as a paragon of Christian virtue, but Jones asserts that if one studies historical accounts of the battles the knight claims he was involved in, he can be interpreted as a typical mercenary and a potentially cold-blooded killer.

PPS Straying off-topic rather - apologies.
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:12 pm

I'm not sure you are straying off topic by discussing the concept of courtly love and ideals of the gentil knight ... against the reality of thuggish knights and marriages contracted for purely for material gain. Kings were similarly supposed to be wise fonts of justice, fairly governing their subjets as a loving father rules his children, and with the fate of their nation supposedly linked to their conduct (as in 'The Fisher King'). But everyone from prince to pauper, whilst accepting this to be a charming ideal, all knew that the reality was far different. Machiavelli's 'El Principe' was shocking, not because it introduced new ideas, but that he openly acknowledged the reality. He didn't say that such things were morally right, only that they worked, and besides everyone else was doing it. Late medieval society was very often far from honest and honourable, and its own members accepted this (eg Chaucer and Machiavelli, and their audiences) ... but the ideas of courtly love etc were nevertheless ideals to which one could still aspire, no?

I'm sort of reminded of the modern business ethos that has the mantra of "Total Quality" ... where companies that are open and honest in all their affairs; that encourage and support their workforce to question and innovate; and that cultivate an image of fair dealing between, customers, workforce, management, shareholders, ... are what all we should aspire to. Yet the reality is that major companies, even very successful ones, still try to avoid paying tax, pay their workers less than the minimum wage, introduce zero-hours contracts, offer bribes to officials, hound whistle-blowers, and mendaciously try to influence government, the media, the public, scientists etc, if what they are all saying, however true, is bad for sales (think tobacco, gm foods, and global warming). 

But now I really am straying off-topic.


Last edited by Meles meles on Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:29 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : spellins)
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:23 pm

And men were deceivers ever...

Nothing changes, does it?






   Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
         Men were deceivers ever;
One foot in sea, and one on shore,
         To one thing constant never.
              Then sigh not so,
              But let them go,
         And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
         Into ‘hey nonny, nonny’.

Sing no more ditties, sing no more,
         Of dumps so dull and heavy;
The fraud of men was ever so,
         Since summer first was leavy.
              Then sigh not so,
              But let them go
         And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
         Into ‘hey nonny, nonny’.
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:01 pm

But then so were the ladies - well, some of them. Which was, of course, Chaucer's verdict on love, courtly or otherwise...

Although his Book of the Duchess suggests he was not always cynical about love. He was a bit smitten with Blanche of Lancaster, I think. And was Katherine Swynford, his beautiful sister-in-law, the inspiration for his rather sympathetic portrait of the lovely - if faithless - Criseyde?
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:46 pm

MM wrote:
...but the ideas of courtly love etc were nevertheless ideals to which one could still aspire, no?



Yes, I agree with that. In Lewis's Allegory of Love, the idea of courtly love - and his exact definition of it is actually "love of a highly specialised sort, whose characteristics may be enumerated as Humility, Courtesy, Adultery and the Religion of Love" (I misquoted Lewis above) - is indeed the expression of the noble, knightly worship "of a refining ideal", which is embodied in the person of the woman who is loved.

However, some have noted (most recently Alister McGrath) that what Lewis depicted as historical actuality has come to be seen by others "as a literary fiction". During the 1970s many scholars began to interpret "courtly love" as an essentially nineteenth-century invention, reflecting the aspirations of that later age which were then read back into the earlier Middle Ages. One criticism of Lewis is that he was, in 1936, "reading the works of the Middle Ages through Victorian (rose-coloured?) spectacles".

But I was wrong to mention C.S. Lewis here - for, as Alister McGrath points out: "In any case, Lewis's concern is actually with the poetic conventions developed to express 'courtly love', rather than the historical notion itself. Lewis's book is really about texts, not about history."
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Sat Jun 18, 2016 3:55 am

Oh, I know the idea of courtly love doesn't really mirror real life.  I recall that in the "Triple Rondel" Merciless Beauty Chaucer starts off saying that the object of affection's eyes will slay him suddenly and in the third and final part of the rondel he is celebrating having grown fat following his escape and enjoying the fact that he counts love not a bean.

To be honest I am not familiar with Terry Jones' work outside Monty Python. "Revisionist" histories cover a multitude of sins. (For example, one historian who shall be nameless seemed to think she was the only person who was aware that Anne Boleyn had a sister).   I looked on Wikipedia and  Mr Jones at least had done research to back up his assertions.  I haven't read the work so I can't judge it and I can't aver that it's right but I can't claim that it's wrong either.  I haven't done any formal academic study of English for nearly 35 years.
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:25 am

LiR wrote:
I haven't done any formal academic study of English for nearly 35 years.


Neither have I, so take no notice of me - I just read a lot in a desperate attempt to keep up with the latest stuff. Terry Jones is out-of-date anyway - he published his Knight's Tale ideas thirty years ago. No one takes it seriously these days. And I haven't done any formal study of history at all - not since I drew a map of the Fertile Crescent way back in the Upper Third.

I'd better shut up!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:29 pm

@Temperance wrote:
You may, Paul, find this of interest - my mention of C.S. Lewis above was absolutely serious, you know.

https://ddthesis.wordpress.com/2007/10/14/10/


The blog reminds us that of all the traits of Courtly Love, one of the most baffling, considering that it emerged from Christendom, is its adulterous and illicit nature. Of the Adulterous tenor, Lewis has this to say:


“Two things prevented the men of that age from connecting their ideal of romantic and passionate love with marriage. The first is, of course, the actual practice of feudal society. Marriages had nothing to do with love, and no ‘nonsense’ about marriage was tolerated. All matches were matches of interest, and, worse still, of an interest that was continually changing. When the alliance which had answered would answer no longer, the husband’s object was to get rid of the lady as quickly as possible. Marriages were frequently dissolved. The same woman who was the lady and the ‘dearest dread’ of her vassals was often little better than a piece of property to her husband…Any idealization of sexual love, in a society where marriage is purely utilitarian, must begin by being an idealization of adultery.“(Lewis, C.S.. Allegory of Love. Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1936. pg.13.)

But then we should remember that all sex was sin - that was the medieval view - whether the sex was within marriage or not. Augustine ruled. People cannot get their heads around that these days.

Lacan has written on this subject - woman as Das Ding (that's Freud's expression and a lovely bit of German alliteration). This article is beyond me, but there are some around here who might be able to explain it:

https://santitafarella.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/courtly-love-or-woman-as-thing-how-to-do-lacanian-analysis-like-slavoj-zizek-or-at-least-understand-what-hes-getting-at/


Temperance,

I don't know if it was here or in the many links I provided that I read:
As the marriage in the middle ages were all arranged for wealth and honor reasons where there was no place for love, there was a need to provide some customs to frame the relation men to women outside the marriage, where other feelings than mere material gains could play...and that ideal code was written down in the verses of the troubadours about courtly love...and as nowadays with all the advertisements that spark a behaviour that would correspond with the advertisements, there was a trend to behave a bit as the poetry gives as examples in certain relations...it can be that at certain moments there was an adulterous side effect but that was not the core of the ideal of courtly love...and at the same time these rude selfish knights learned to behave a little bit...

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:41 pm

Meles meles,

"I'm sort of reminded of the modern business ethos that has the mantra of "Total Quality" ... where companies that are open and honest in all their affairs; that encourage and support their workforce to question and innovate; and that cultivate an image of fair dealing between, customers, workforce, management, shareholders, ... are what all we should aspire to. Yet the reality is that major companies, even very successful ones, still try to avoid paying tax, pay their workers less than the minimum wage, introduce zero-hours contracts, offer bribes to officials, hound whistle-blowers, and mendaciously try to influence government, the media, the public, scientists etc, if what they are all saying, however true, is bad for sales (think tobacco, gm foods, and global warming). "

Splendid paragraph...
Especially the American multinationals...I worked in one...here in Belgium we are more aware of it and are a bit anxious to use all these high-flown rethoric while everybody in the public knows about the reality...where I also recognized these American trends was with the Germans...and I had many contacts with the German industry...and I can be a bit biased, but I didn't recognize it with the French where I had also many contacts although less than with the Germans...

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:32 am

Paul wrote:
...and at the same time these rude selfish knights learned to behave a little bit...



Did they? Or was it rather that they learned to pretend to behave a little bit - when it suited them?

My old friend, Henry VIII, was a great fan of the ideals of courtly love, of course - the "serving" of his "mistress" was of great importance to the man. No wonder Anne Boleyn is reported as having alternated between laughter and weeping fits during her last days as "The Lady in the Tower".

The Countess of Salisbury must also have reflected somewhat ruefully on the courtesy, humility and chivalry of the aristocratic thug who ruled England - that Tudor who fancied himself as the epitome of a  "very parfit gentil knight" - whose concept of "behaving well" towards women included sending, among others, a gracious and aged lady to be publically butchered with a blunt axe.

Anne Askew, who was tortured so badly on Henry's orders that she had to be carried to the stake for her burning, also had reason to doubt the efficacy of the ideals of "courtly love". Her sex and status as a "gentle" woman, gave her precious little protection from male frustration and fury.

Men behaved nicely if the women played their allotted part in the charade. But God help them if they stepped out of line.

"Courtly love" seems a pleasing idea, but perhaps, like C.S. Lewis, we are looking at it through the lens of Victorian attitudes to women? Is "courtly love", like "feudalism", a term best avoided, as suggesting a whole complicated system of actions and requirements that never actually existed?

Big discussion going on at the moment on BBC Andrew Marr Show about men threatening women - rape threats and such made towards women who dare voice an opinion. Misogyny is a fact of life: how do we control it, "legislate" against it - or must we live with it? Was "courtly love" just another failed attempt to change human nature?


PS  R. Howard Bloch, who holds the Chair of Medieval Studies at Yale, published in 1991 a book entitled Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of Western Romantic Love. On Amazon you can "Look Inside" this book and read Bloch's introduction. It is very interesting:


https://www.amazon.co.uk/Medieval-Misogyny-Invention-Western-Romantic/dp/0226059731


Until now the advent of Western romantic love has been seen as a liberation from or antidote to ten centuries of misogyny. In this major contribution to gender studies, R. Howard Bloch demonstrates how similar the ubiquitous antifeminism of medieval times and the romantic idealization of woman actually are. Through analyses of a broad range of patristic and medieval texts, Bloch explores the Christian construction of gender in which the flesh is feminized, the feminine is aestheticized, and aesthetics are condemned in theological terms. Tracing the underlying theme of virginity from the Church Fathers to the courtly poets, Bloch establishes the continuity between early Christian antifeminism and the idealization of woman that emerged in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In conclusion he explains the likely social, economic, and legal causes for the seeming inversion of the terms of misogyny into those of an idealizing tradition of love that exists alongside its earlier avatar until the current era. This startling study will be of great value to students of medieval literature as well as to historians of culture and gender.
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:13 pm

Henry is a rather transparent example of just how tied in "chivalry" was with the whole notion of absolute control that underlay Norman thinking (a tradition in which he saw himself as direct heir with an obligation to defend the values he had inherited), something that transcended mere political control, though this ultimately was the intent, and manifested itself in every aspect to communal living that could be identified and to which rules could be ascribed - social, religious, agrarian, industrial, commercial, political etc. By Henry's time of course this was a belated, and not even the first, attempt to re-establish such micro-managerial control over society. The Tudors presented themselves as the saviours of society from an anarchy that preceded them, and while historical hindsight readily reveals the hypocrisy and untruths in this assertion there are still many examples from Henry VIII's reign in particular of how he especially really seemed to believe the hype established in his father's regime. A hankering for "old values", many of which even then were demonstrably mythical in nature, was a frequent theme in Henry's own words when addressing issues ranging from extension of political control territorially to how individuals were obliged to behave in a manner commensurate with their social standing and even their sex. More than any other monarchical regime in Britain it was the Tudor rulers - all five of them - who were most likely to attempt to translate these "values", however spurious they might be in terms of historical or moral justification, directly into legislation.

On the question of how misogynistic the "romantic idealisation" of women actually was, and again hindsight renders this conclusion almost unavoidable, it is also fair to say that when it was adopted, expressed and translated into codes, mores and laws by the elite, it was also less a case of keeping women in their place as part of a much greater attempt to keep absolutely everybody in their place, the fundamental logic behind feudalism, and a logic that was most rigorously translated into what we would call repressive legislation intruding on personal freedoms by many different European regimes throughout the Middle Ages. What these regimes tended to have in common was a precarious justification for having come into being in the first place - the Tudors being a good example - and a resultant tendency therefore to vociferously maintain their place within a "tradition" which they often actually had to invent (and dare anyone contradict them), as well as a tendency to deflect potential criticism and opposition politically through the imposition of extreme social controls utilising whatever was to hand to lend this policy credence and moral clout.

For a share in the spoils of such policies it was often the church which provided whatever spurious morality the political regime required at any given time, but often the monarch - be it Henry Tudor Jr in England or Ivan Vi Frankopan in Hungary/Croatia - went further and codified such legislation after appeals to sentiment, nostalgia, patriotic myth and notions of honour, none of which even then were supported by historical or contemporary evidence, but all of which were difficult to oppose without the opposer being seen as the odd-one-out and the anti-social aggressor. It was a powerful and much used political subterfuge, and so successful that it has long survived the so-called demise of feudalism. The USA today is a particular case in point, though there are countless others.

People who identify "chivalry" with misogyny have a point, but focusing on that point to the exclusion of all other aspects to medieval life with which it is closely related is potentially missing the opportunity to identify feudalism as something which should not be regarded as a "past event" consigned to history but an ongoing political and social mentality which has underpinned the creation of our modern world and continues even now to play a role. If anyone should wonder why, in such enlightened times as ours, women still find it difficult to exercise political power to its fullest extent, and in all western societies demonstrably fail to fully enjoy equal benefit from the policies such power engenders, then they need only look to the mythical "age of chivalry" to see a transparent and comprehensive illustration of many of the root causes of this dilemma.
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Sun Jun 19, 2016 5:31 pm

Ah, excellent post, nordmann.

Going from the sublimity of nordmann's prose and historical insight to what I hope is not a completely ridiculous post from me: I have been pondering on the knightly ideal and the role of one of the more interesting characters from that addictive garbage, Game of Thrones. I refer to Brienne, the Maiden of Tarth. For those who have not watched the programme, Brienne considers herself - and is considered by others - to be too tall, too unfeminine and too ungainly ever to aspire to the role of a delicate and fragile "princesse lointaine". She therefore resolves to turn herself into a formidable fighter, dedicated to the pursuit of the knightly ideal, even though, as a woman, she can never become a true knight. She has sworn an oath to defend the Stark girls, an oath she is determined to keep. All crazy nonsense, of course, but we all do seem still to love the idea - yes, even in this brutal and cynical age - of the honourable warrior who is dedicated to the defence of the weak, who believes in truth and integrity, and who may be relied upon to keep his - sorry, her - word. The picture comparison (below) of Brienne with Joan of Arc is interesting. Here's a snippet or two from Wiki:



In the novel A Feast for Crows, Brienne describes herself as "the only child the gods let [my father] keep. The freakish one, one not fit to be son or daughter." In "Beyond The Wall", a collection of essays, Caroline Spector describes Brienne as a "study in heartbreaking contradictions. She embraces the romantic ideals of her culture, both emotionally and through her actions, but is continually betrayed by the real world simply because she cannot turn herself into the woman the Westerosi legends tell her she should be."



Charlie Harwood of HBOwatch describes Brienne as "loyal, stubborn, headstrong, and judgmental. Despite the repeated insults from knights, who mockingly call her 'Brienne the Beauty', she holds a simple idea of knighthood, believing that knights should be chivalrous and always honour their vows." In an Interview for SFX magazine, Gwendoline Christie described her as an outsider who has had to develop "outer strength that often matches or supersedes that of any man in order to be treated with equality. She doesn't want to get married...yet she's internally romantic...she has an overriding sense of honour and what is right, and that's what makes her such a brilliant character to play: that her outer self is so stable and masculine, but inside she's so fragile."















Mind you, the dual image below shows you that, with the right frock and a bit of make-up, Brienne could easily become a Daenerys. If manners maketh man, image maketh  woman...




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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:22 pm

In 1562 a "courtly love" scandal was seized on with glee by John Knox: he was delighted when Pierre de Bocosel, Seigneur de Chastelard, a handsome poet whom Mary Queen of Scots had admitted to her service in Scotland, was twice found under the queen's bed, reputedly pining for love of the beautiful young ruler of Scotland. He had written ardent verses to his princess and she, rather unwisely, had responded in the tradition of courtly love, reportedly dancing with him, resting her head upon his shoulder and even sometimes "privily" stealing "a kiss of his neck". After Chastelard was found hiding in the queen's room for the second time, Mary had him arrested and the young man was executed for treason. He died in fine, dramatic, courtly love style, declaiming Ronsard's Hymn to Death on the scaffold and his last words, according to Knox, were: "Adieu, the most beautiful and the most cruel Princess in the world!"

It is possible that Chastelard was a Protestant agent whose task was deliberately to besmirch Mary's reputation. It cost him his life, but if that was his brief, his mission was successful.

Mary is a good example of how chivalry was a myth. Her treatment at the hands of the Lords of the Congregation was appalling. The way this delicate, pampered product of the French court was threatened and abused, especially during her pregnancies, was brutal in the extreme. When six months pregnant with the future James I, she was forced to witness the stabbing to death of her secretary, Rizzio, a loaded pistol being pointed at her stomach. She miscarried of twins during her harsh imprisonment at Lochleven. As one writer has noted: "These lords would have treated a foaling mare with more consideration."

In England, meanwhile, our very own Faerie Queene danced her way through the game of courtly love with consummate skill, living and dying a virgin and she, unlike her cousin of Scotland, never found herself turned out of her realm "in her petticoat".


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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:15 pm

@nordmann wrote:
Henry is a rather transparent example of just how tied in "chivalry" was with the whole notion of absolute control that underlay Norman thinking (a tradition in which he saw himself as direct heir with an obligation to defend the values he had inherited), something that transcended mere political control, though this ultimately was the intent, and manifested itself in every aspect to communal living that could be identified and to which rules could be ascribed - social, religious, agrarian, industrial, commercial, political etc. By Henry's time of course this was a belated, and not even the first, attempt to re-establish such micro-managerial control over society. The Tudors presented themselves as the saviours of society from an anarchy that preceded them, and while historical hindsight readily reveals the hypocrisy and untruths in this assertion there are still many examples from Henry VIII's reign in particular of how he especially really seemed to believe the hype established in his father's regime. A hankering for "old values", many of which even then were demonstrably mythical in nature, was a frequent theme in Henry's own words when addressing issues ranging from extension of political control territorially to how individuals were obliged to behave in a manner commensurate with their social standing and even their sex. More than any other monarchical regime in Britain it was the Tudor rulers - all five of them - who were most likely to attempt to translate these "values", however spurious they might be in terms of historical or moral justification, directly into legislation.

On the question of how misogynistic the "romantic idealisation" of women actually was, and again hindsight renders this conclusion almost unavoidable, it is also fair to say that when it was adopted, expressed and translated into codes, mores and laws by the elite, it was also less a case of keeping women in their place as part of a much greater attempt to keep absolutely everybody in their place, the fundamental logic behind feudalism, and a logic that was most rigorously translated into what we would call repressive legislation intruding on personal freedoms by many different European regimes throughout the Middle Ages. What these regimes tended to have in common was a precarious justification for having come into being in the first place - the Tudors being a good example - and a resultant tendency therefore to vociferously maintain their place within a "tradition" which they often actually had to invent (and dare anyone contradict them), as well as a tendency to deflect potential criticism and opposition politically through the imposition of extreme social controls utilising whatever was to hand to lend this policy credence and moral clout.

For a share in the spoils of such policies it was often the church which provided whatever spurious morality the political regime required at any given time, but often the monarch - be it Henry Tudor Jr in England or Ivan Vi Frankopan in Hungary/Croatia - went further and codified such legislation after appeals to sentiment, nostalgia, patriotic myth and notions of honour, none of which even then were supported by historical or contemporary evidence, but all of which were difficult to oppose without the opposer being seen as the odd-one-out and the anti-social aggressor. It was a powerful and much used political subterfuge, and so successful that it has long survived the so-called demise of feudalism. The USA today is a particular case in point, though there are countless others.

People who identify "chivalry" with misogyny have a point, but focusing on that point to the exclusion of all other aspects to medieval life with which it is closely related is potentially missing the opportunity to identify feudalism as something which should not be regarded as a "past event" consigned to history but an ongoing political and social mentality which has underpinned the creation of our modern world and continues even now to play a role. If anyone should wonder why, in such enlightened times as ours, women still find it difficult to exercise political power to its fullest extent, and in all western societies demonstrably fail to fully enjoy equal benefit from the policies such power engenders, then they need only look to the mythical "age of chivalry" to see a transparent and comprehensive illustration of many of the root causes of this dilemma.

Thank you very much Nordmann for this excellent message. I read it with great interest.
BTW, Nordmann, have you seen my post from 16 June 22h30 in this same thread...about the Chinese and Japanese...where I had some difficulty to understand you and I asked for more explanations...

Kind regards, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:01 am

Temp wrote:
Mary is a good example of how chivalry was a myth.

Chivalry as a code of social behaviour had its origin in myth. By that I do not mean it featured first in myth cycles (though it certainly contributed to countless legends and stories) but that it "originated" after the supposed event, a typical feature of mythical constructs, and as such could employ quite a lot of invention in the retrospective development of its pedigree and origin. Just as a "golden lost age of chivalry" had never been there to lose in the first place and this fact was known to many who had the wit or means to examine the historical record, there existed an equally certain if ultimately insubstantial consequent belief that it nevertheless contained values worth retaining and exercising in the real world, even though the efficacy of this belief was itself easily disproved by people's actual behaviour in that same world.

Mary's treatment, as well as Henry's self-serving adherence or non-adherence to the values supposedly represented by the code of chivalry, was meted out by people who - like Henry - might actually have believed they were behaving with all due courtesy according to that code, even as they were patently doing something quite opposite indeed. The important thing to remember about what people believed to be a "code of chivalry" is that they also believed that the code, being a code, inferred rules, that rules could be broken, and that those who broke the rules therefore could be made to pay a penalty. While this had nothing to do with how or why Mary Queen of Scots was treated the way she was, it is still important in terms of working out just what this code of chivalry was to those who subscribed to it to bear in mind that those who acted against her in such sadistic fashion still could believe that it was they who were acting "properly", even within that code, and that it was actually Mary who had "broken" the rules. It is a cognitive dissonance which typifies a lot of behaviour deemed "proper" by its practitioners only according to rules drawn from mythical constructs and not according to mores distilled through observation of actual human behaviour, from an innate sense of justice, or indeed from what might be called natural morality.

The simple proof of all this is that the shining examples of chivalrous behaviour reside almost exclusively within stories from the period which were tremendously popular and of which many survive to this day, while the shining examples of unchivalrous behaviour reside in historical accounts from the same period.

Paul wrote:
BTW, Nordmann, have you seen my post from 16 June 22h30 in this same thread...about the Chinese and Japanese...where I had some difficulty to understand you and I asked for more explanations...

I don't know much about China in this regard, Paul. From what I do know it seems that the rules of courtship, like much else concerned with social traditions, have always varied between its many distinct regions. Japan I mentioned as a rejoinder to your "western civilisation" comment which implied such rules are a western phenomenon. Not only did Japan, always an extremely conservative society, develop much more stringent and forcibly applied rules of behaviour in this regard (coincidentally around the same time as Europeans were attempting to "formalise" the same), but also these rules are still present in modern Japanese society to a far greater extent than their western equivalents have managed to survive into contemporary society.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Mon Jun 20, 2016 12:03 pm

@nordmann wrote:
Temp wrote:
Mary is a good example of how chivalry was a myth.



The simple proof of all this is that the shining examples of chivalrous behaviour reside almost exclusively within stories from the period which were tremendously popular and of which many survive to this day, while the shining examples of unchivalrous behaviour reside in historical accounts from the same period.


Yes - that is what I saw trying to suggest when I posted this last week:

I wrote:


However, some have noted (most recently Alister McGrath) that what Lewis depicted as historical actuality has come to be seen by others "as a literary fiction". During the 1970s many scholars began to interpret "courtly love" as an essentially nineteenth-century invention, reflecting the aspirations of that later age which were then read back into the earlier Middle Ages. One criticism of Lewis is that he was, in 1936, "reading the works of the Middle Ages through Victorian (rose-coloured?) spectacles".

But I was wrong to mention C.S. Lewis here - for, as Alister McGrath points out: "In any case, Lewis's concern is actually with the poetic conventions developed to express 'courtly love', rather than the historical notion itself. Lewis's book is really about texts, not about history."



Is there anything akin to the courtly love tradition in the Norse myths - or is that an oxymoron to end all oxymorons?
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Mon Jun 20, 2016 12:17 pm

Not in the myths, but in the sagas. The myths concern themselves with the origin of life, control of the elements, the nature of power, and the end of the world. The sagas, being largely an attempt at historical record, sometimes include therefore the courtship and mating of the rich and powerful. The sagas therefore are valuable clues to how "Viking" society regarded marriage (much more openly a business contract than in Western Europe), the duties and recommended behaviour of the male when wooing a potential bride, the duties of a female being wooed and also when wed, and of course where concubines fit into all this (the bit Western European tradition tended to gloss over or leave out altogether).

The rules of romantic engagement were therefore quite rigidly codified, and the number of blood feuds and wars which allegedly arose over transgressions within this code are the sagas' testament to how "chivalry" was regarded within Scandinavian culture - if anything something more rigorously enforced than elsewhere in Europe, very much openly based on social tradition and practical considerations regarding material wealth, and all in all therefore a much more solid version than the one promoted elsewhere largely as an aspiration.
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PostSubject: Re: Courtly love   Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:18 pm

Re message 20 June.

Thank you very much, Nordmann for the reply about China and Japan.

Kind regards, Paul.
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