Art Of Courtly Love The Andreas

Capellanus (ca. 1184-86) Andreas Capellanus achieved fame by composing a Latin treatise on love (ca. 1184-86) entitled Liber de arte honeste amandi et reprobatione inhonesti amantis (Book of the Art of Loving Nobly and the Reprobation of Dishonourable Love). It is commonly referred to as The Art of Courtly Love. Inspired by Ovid and the poetry of the Provençal troubadours, Andreas explores the practices associated with what the French philologist Gaston Paris referred to as "courtly love" (amour courtois): a refined love, occurring exclusively outside of marriage and, in general, among courtly societies. (The phrase courtly love was coined by Paris; in Old French and Middle English, fin' amors and trwe love were much more common terms.)

The work of Andreas Capellanus was translated into Old French, Catalan, Italian, and German. It became one of the most influential works of the Middle Ages— almost every romance, for instance, relies on its principles of courtly love. It also greatly influenced medieval vernacular literature aside from romances, including Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun's Romance of the Rose and Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, among many other works.

Andreas dedicates his treatise to a noble, although probably fictitious, friend, Walter. He divides the study into three parts. In Book One, he provides a series of definitions with etymologies: " 'Love' [amor] is derived from the word 'hook' [amar], which signifies 'capture' or 'be captured.' For he who loves is caught in the chains of desire and wishes to catch another with his hook." The love described by Andreas is explicitly Ovidian and sexual in nature: It is an "inborn suffering derived from the sight of and excessive meditation upon the beauty of the opposite sex, which causes each one to wish above all things the embraces of the other." Nonetheless, love elevates the lover's character and is capable of making "an ugly and rude person shine with all beauty, knows how to endow with nobility even one of humble birth, can even lend humility to the proud." According to Andreas, the male partner must initiate the love affair by revealing his feelings and asking for the lady's affection. She, in turn, may choose to accept or deny her suitor. The woman maintains considerable power over her admirer, who must do her bidding whether or not she agrees to return his love.

In Book Two, Andreas outlines how love may be retained by providing his reader with 31 rules. These include statements about the conditions in which love will flourish and about how a lover should behave; for example: "marriage is no real excuse for not loving" (Rule 1); "boys do not love until they arrive at the age of maturity" (Rule 6); "love is always a stranger in the home of avarice" (Rule 10); "good character alone makes a man worthy of love" (Rule 18); "he whom the thought of love vexes eats and sleeps very little" (Rule 23); and "love can deny nothing to love" (Rule 26). In accepting and applying these rules, the lover will prove worthy of his lady.

Book Three, entitled "A Rejection of Love," stands in stark opposition to the preceding sections, although it, too, draws upon Ovid, in particular, his Remedia Amoris (Remedies of Love). Here, Andreas explains why courtly love ought not to be practiced, especially by Christians. This conclusion has caused much debate: Did Andreas add his rejection because he was a Chaplain and faced repercussions from the church? Or is his entire treatise a parody of courtly love and its negative influences? See also chivalry, lovesickness.

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