Courtly Love, the Love of Courtliness, and the History of Sexuality
Courtly love, Schultz finds, was provoked not by the biological and intrinsic factors that play such a large role in our contemporary thinking about sexuality—sex difference or desire—but by extrinsic signs of class: bodies that were visibly noble and behaviors that represented exemplary courtliness. Individuals became “subjects” of courtly love only to the extent that their love took the shape of certain courtly roles such as singer, lady, or knight. They hoped not only for physical union but also for the social distinction that comes from realizing these roles to perfection. To an extraordinary extent, courtly love represented the love of courtliness—the eroticization of noble status and the courtly culture that celebrated noble power and refinement
“This is the most important study of courtly love to appear in the last twenty years. Drawing on the rich medieval German literary tradition, this book argues that what moderns think of as sex is, in fact, a historical construct. Showing in detail how the great medieval German texts understood the category of sex, James Schultz adds a considerable chapter to the history of sex, the history of gender, and medieval studies.”--Ann Marie Rasmussen, Duke University
Citations, References, and Names
Introduction: Courtly Sexuality and the History of Love
Causa materialis: What Sort of Bodies Are Involved?
1. Parzival’s Penis: A Brief History
2. The Sexual Identity of Courtly Lovers
3. The Aphrodisiac Body on Display
Causa efficiens: What Gets Them Going?
4. The Danger of Heterosexuality
5. Love without Desire
Causa formalis: How Do They Manage It?
7. Single Singers: Suffering Alone in Public
8. Chivalric Couples: Knights, Ladies, and Marriage
9. Secret Lovers: Tristan, Isold, and the Watchman at Dawn
Causa finalis: What Do They Get Out of It?
10. Four Degrees of Intimacy
11. Taking Courtly Love at Its Word
12. Masculine Anxiety and the Consolations of Fiction