Courtship in Shakespeare: Its Relation to the Tradition of Courtly Love

Courtship in Shakespeare: Its Relation to the Tradition of Courtly Love

Courtship in Shakespeare: Its Relation to the Tradition of Courtly Love

Courtship in Shakespeare: Its Relation to the Tradition of Courtly Love

Excerpt

TO SAY that courtly love or fine amor had its beginnings in the twelfth century and died out, under ridicule, to be replaced by the romanticism of the sixteenth, is to avoid recognizing the permanent aspects of both manifestations. Courtly and romantic love have a common basis in fact in that they reflect actual relationships between living men and women. The courtly love formalized at the Poitevin court of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and definitively codified by Andreas, was not and could not be one which sprang full-blown through the invention of any single group. " 'Courtly love' aided in the growth of romantic love, which has always existed but did not become articulate before the midst of the Middle Ages, and then became intensely so."

It is the primary function of this book, without considering ritual before the time of Eleanor, and without determining sources, to show the process of courtship as conceived by Shakespeare in his plays. This will be preceded by an amplificatory investigation of fine amor of the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries to determine the debt of Shakespeare to courtly and non-courtly traditions, and to show Shakespeare's dependence upon or independence of the concepts of his contemporaries. The proof will utilize reference to his works, filling it in and corroborating it with materials of contemporaries and with records of the sixteenth century.

Courtly love, originally contrary to Christian monogamy in its philosophy, soon added a type of Platonic idealism which tended to ally it with the concepts of the Church. It . . .

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