courtly love


courtly love

noun

Definition of COURTLY LOVE

:  a late medieval conventionalized code prescribing conduct and emotions of ladies and their lovers

First Known Use of COURTLY LOVE

1702

courtly love

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Late-medieval code that prescribed the highly conventionalized behaviour and emotions of aristocratic ladies and their lovers. It was the theme of an extensive literature that began with late 11th-century troubadour poetry in France and swiftly pervaded Europe. The courtly lover, who saw himself as enslaved by passion but fired by respect, faithfully served and worshiped his lady-saint. Courtly love was invariably adulterous, largely because upper-class marriage at the time was usually the result of economic interest or the seal of a power alliance. Its literary sources are believed to be found in Arabic literature, transmitted to Europe through Arab-dominated Spain; the growing religious cult of Mary was another influence. Examples of works inspired by the ideal are the Roman de la rose, Petrarch's sonnets to Laura, Dante's Divine Comedy, and the lyrics of the trouvères and minnesingers. See also chivalry.

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: courtman
Previous Word in the Dictionary: courtly (adverb)
All Words Near: courtly love

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up courtly love? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).