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The Nature of LoveCourtly and Romantic$
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Irving Singer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262512732

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262512732.001.0001

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The Concept of Courtly Love

The Concept of Courtly Love

(p.19) 1 The Concept of Courtly Love
The Nature of Love

Irving Singer

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses the concept of courtly love, and how it has become muddled and indistinguishable in recent years. Some scholars have argued that the original thesis is inherently untenable and, therefore, no longer of any use. The term “courtly love” was introduced in 1883 by a renowned French medievalist, Gaston Paris. He used the words amour courtois to refer to an attitude toward love that first manifested itself in twelfth-century French literature. Under Paris’s influence, scholars began to talk about the concept as a “way of life,” building upon a “system” of courtly love, with its own “code” and “body of rules.” This is problematic because it deals with the social behavior of several countries within Europe, and there is no single code that pervades the entire European continent as a whole.

Keywords:   courtly love, amour courtois, French medievalist, Gaston Paris, French literature, social behavior, European continent

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