Chapter

Eleanor and Courtly Love

Jean Flori and Olive Classe

in Eleanor of Aquitaine

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780748622955
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651382 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748622955.003.0013
Eleanor and Courtly Love

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Eleanor of Aquitaine lived in an age and in places that saw the birth of one of the most innovative and characteristic features of Western society in the Middle Ages: courtoisie. The notion covers a set of attitudes constituting the court ethos that from the first third of the twelfth century gradually established itself in the milieu of aristocracy. These qualities reflected the emergence of a new sensibility and altered the theoretical norms governing relationships between knights and ladies of the court. They led to the concept of courtly love, praised by poets and blamed by moralists. Two major themes are found in practically all twelfth-century works of literature: chivalry and courtoisie. These clearly express the ethical preoccupations of the time, at least in lettered and aristocratic circles.

Keywords: Eleanor of Aquitaine; Middle Ages; courtoisie; milieu; aristocracy; knights; ladies; court; chivalry

Chapter.  15823 words. 

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