The De Amore of Andreas Capellanus
and the Practice of
Love At Court
IT HAS BEEN the fate of Andreas' work De amore to be linked with the doctrine, real or imagined, of courtly love. 1 There are good reasons for the connection. Andreas was probably a chaplain at the court of France at a time when the sophisticated amusement of courtly love, in the social sense of courtly, was widely practiced. He names personages in his work who are invariably associated with the finest flowering of courtly poetry. His treatise lays down some rules for the elaborate game which was to be played. In these respects Parry was justified in translating the alternative title De arte honeste amandi by The Art of Courtly Love. 2 Unfortunately, however, the term "courtly love" acquired during the nine teenth centurya meaning quite different from that just described. Instead of meaning "love as practiced at court" it came to mean "spiritual, idealized love," such as that sung by the troubadours and Minnesänger, or "adulterous; love," such as that of Tristan and Isolde or Lancelot and Guinevere. Although the troubadours in the canzon sang of fin amors, a spiritual, nonsensual love, and although the loves of the heroes of the romances were often anything but spiritual, it has been assumed by many critics that there was a generalized type of courtly love which was practiced or at least sung by all authors in all genres and that it was somehow a part of the chivalric code. Such a belief is in complete defiance of the works of literature as we have them. The mood of love in the canzon is quite different from that in the alba and the love of Parzival for Condwiramurs has no resemblance to that of Tristan for Isolde. Married love
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Publication information: Book title: The Challenge of the Medieval Text:Studies in Genre and Interpretation. Contributors: W. T. H. Jackson - Author, Joan M. Ferrante - Editor, Robert W. Hanning - Editor. Publisher: Columbia University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1985. Page number: 3.
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