HSTAM 111 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Chrétien De Troyes, Gaston Paris, High Middle Ages

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Lecture Notes 6
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
The setting of courtly love
- Term invented by Gaston Paris in 1900s
- Contemporaries call it Fin’amors (refined love)
o Aristocratic
o Adulterous (married women) men longing for unattainable woman
o Unequal but in favor of the woman (man is the woman’s “vassal”)
Man must approve devotion, and woman is very withholding
Accounts written by males, so very focused on the male’s struggle
o Was ideal in society, yet it was adulterous why did it appear?
Marriage among nobility was politically motivated
Find true love outside of marriage (mistresses)
Noble women are supposed to remain faithful to husbands
- Rise of juvenes unmarried, landless nobles
o Held in this state so that they can’t have legitimate children to compete with older
siblings
o Never officially became adults because marriage was the rite of passage into
adulthood
o Primary function to serve as warriors
Sent to other noble families to be trained from ‘foster’ fathers that train
these young knights
Multiple juvenes stayed with one lord; formed group called mesnie
(household knights)
Once formally dubbed knights (at age 16-17), they would be released
Expected to find their own way; offer their service and participate in
tournaments
If they were lucky + survived they may be awarded an heiress
o Would attempt to seduce noble woman in order to get marriage/land
Very limited availability of heiresses; heavy competition
B/c church was pushing to require womens’ consent in marriage
Juvene lovers would go after lady they had the most access to; often the
lord’s wife
Husband could benefit, as long as juvenes don’t sleep with wife
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