Love That Doth Reign And Live Within My Thought 255

ciated with the disease are all illuminated in Arcite's love for Emilye. He has the sunken eyes ("eyen holwe"), the jaundiced coloration ("hewe falow"), the insomnia ("His slep . . . is hym biraft"), anorexia ("his mete, his drynke, is hym biraft"), the depression ("wolde he wepe"; "So feble eek were his spiritz, and so lowe"), among other ailments, such as paleness and weight loss. Chaucer even uses the medical terms, showing the close relationship between the medical and literary discussions of lovesickness. He names the medical condition: "Nat oonly lik the loveris maladye / of Hereos, but rather lyk manye, / Engendred of humour malencolik / Biforen, in his celle fantastic" (ll. 137276). This is but one of many examples.

Throughout Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, for instance, one can find in Troilus's behavior further example of lovesickness in medieval poetry. It is very prevalent in the romance tradition. In Sir Orfeo, the hero weeps, moans, and feels woe. Floris of Floris and Blauncheflur sighs and bemoans the absence of his beloved. Unlike the medical tradition, the literature did not present lovesickness as an exclusively male disorder. Blauncheflur indeed goes pale at the sight of Floris. In The Legend of Good Women, Chaucer follows the ancient tradition of Dido's lovesick reaction to Aeneas's departure: "[S]he hath lost hire hewe and ek her hele" (l. 1159). Her symptoms then increase: "She siketh sore, and gan hyreself turmente; / She walketh, walweth, maketh many a breyd / As don these lovers, as I have herd sayd" (ll. 1165-67).

The disease, or at least the expression of its symptoms, becomes the sign of true love, of devotion to the beloved. For this reason there are instances of feigned symptoms in an attempt to prove one's love. The Middle Ages, as well as the early Renaissance period, show a marked interest in the way in which this medical condition translates into literature. Lovesickness becomes part of the poetry and the popular culture of the time. For this reason it has also sparked academic interest in the past two decades. Two trends dominate modern literary criticism's attentions to lovesickness. one is to use literary examples of the disease to define it medically and to argue the prevalence of the medical tradition. The second trend discusses the disease's implications for gender identity. Lovesickness in the Middle Ages is often connected to emasculation. This current critical debate mirrors the manner in which medieval physicians depicted the disease.

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