COURTLY LOVE AND THE SOCIAL BACKGROUND TO THE TROUBADOUR REVIVAL IN LATE MEDIEVAL SPAIN
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Thesis: Courtly Love was a comprehensive cultural phenomenon brought about by changes in the social environment and influences from the Arab world. The crisis of the aristocracy in fifteenth-century Spain was a major determining factor in the revival of poetic themes and forms inspired by this literary and sentimental ideology. Oblectives: 1. To study the various trends in scholarship from the sixteenth century to the present day so that the term 'Courtly Love' can be redefined as a valid instrument for critical analysis; II. To investigate the socioeconomic background to the revival of troubadour poetry and chivalric idealism in late medieval Spain. The study inquires into: - I. The Origin and Meaning of Courtly Love. The theories are examined chronologically and analytically. For purposes of analysis they are divided into those concerned with the origins of amour courtois and those concerned with the meaning and validity of the concept. 1. Chronological survey: this survey shows the extent to which opinions on the medieval love lyric reflect contemporary literary fashions and political ideas. 2., Theories of origin: include Chivalric-Matriarchal., Crypto-Catharg Neoplatonic, Bernardine-Marianistg Spring Folk Ritual, Feudal-Sociological and the Hispano-Arabic. The Hispano-Arabio theory stresses the impact of Arab medical doctrines and Slid mysticism on European literature; the Sociological theory attributes the emergence of the troubadour movement to social and economic factors. 3. Theories of meaning: include the interpretation of Courtly Love as a collective fantasy fulfilling a psychological function; as an example of the play element in culture; as a figment of the imagination projected on the Middle Ages by nineteenth-century writers and scholars. II. Background to the Troubadour Revival. Courtly Love was from the start an aristocratic phenomenon. A considerable number of the nine hundred poets who flourished in the courts of Spain and Naples during the fifteenth century were related by ties of kinship and dependence to a rebel aristocracy, whose moral authority had been diminished by changes in the art of war and in the structure of society. Many were court officials Jewish conversos and the lesser landless sons of noble families. The rise of the Castilian love lyric is linked with the prevalence of baronial anarchy and with the rapid inflation of the titular nobility. It was a conservative reaction to social crisis by the dominant minority. 1. The aristocratic theory of society: examines the theory of the three estateat different forms of patronage, and the court as a centre of culture. 2* Historical background to the troubadour revival: outlines events during the reign of the Trastamaran dynasty, and attempts to assess the influence of personalities on cultural attitudes. 3. Documents: include decrees issued by Joan I of Aragon and his successor Harti" extollling the benefits of the Gay Science.
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