Heather Fowler's Reviews > The Art of Courtly Love

The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus
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May 17, 12

I love to read books that are hundreds of years old--and found this primer in the art of courtly love completely charming in social contexts of the author's day and the mixed antiquity and continuously applicable essentials of the ideas. That said, being that Capellanus was a chaplain, the last passage is clearly meant to confuse and put off his detractors. To baffle or dance around what the main text does. I like to read the volume as one man who desires to examine lascivious interaction via the raised platform of instruction, even going so far as to discuss a number of scenarios about what possibilities there may be (or have been) between different classes of lovers-- and then, at the tail end, putting his robes back on for a final summation that tongue in cheek realigns himself with those for whom he must appear to suit his station. Mixed message books always entertain me. Of course, so do views into the psyches of lovers. If you are female, my advice is simple: Enjoy all parts of the book except the final summary, which will piss you off since it replays that old ideology that the woman destroys everyhing and is untrustworthy--EVE in the garden.

I was intrigued by many elements of the text: expected behaviors for widows, an articulated archaic version of "The Rules," a sort of textual dance between off-putting conduct and desire, and a commentary on what kinds of love may be experienced by whom and how.

Ha. Great fun. :)
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