Courtly love

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Courtly love was a medieval European conception of nobly and chivalrously expressing love and admiration.[1] Generally, courtly love was secret and between members of the nobility.[2] It was also generally not practiced between husband and wife.[2][3]

Courtly love began in the ducal and princely courts of Aquitaine, Provence, Champagne and ducal Burgundy, at the end of the eleventh century. In essence, courtly love was an experience between erotic desire and spiritual attainment that now seems contradictory, "a love at once illicit and morally elevating, passionate and disciplined, humiliating and exalting, human and transcendent".[4]

The term "courtly love" was first popularized by Gaston Paris in 1883, and has since come under a wide variety of definitions and uses, even being dismissed as nineteenth-century romantic fiction. Its interpretation, origins and influences continue to be a matter of critical debate.


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