• The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century.• The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era.• The Middle Ages were the age of courtly love.
Origin of Term: Courtly love was a medieval Europeanconception of nobly and chivalrously expressing love andadmiration. Generally courtly love was secret andoccurred between the nobility. Courtly love was notpracticed between husband and wife.In essence, courtly love was an experience between eroticdesire and spiritual attainment that now seemscontradictory, "a love at once illicit and morallyelevating, passionate and disciplined, humiliating andexalting, human and transcendent.”
The lover (idolizer) accepts the independence of hismistress and tries to make himself worthy of her byacting bravely and honourably and by doing whateverdeeds she might desire, subjecting himself to a seriesof tests to prove to her his love and commitment.Sexual satisfaction may not have been a goal or evenend result, but the love was not entirely Platoniceither, as it was based on sexual attraction.
Courtly love found its expression in the lyric poems written by troubadours, suchas William IX, Duke of Aquitaine (1071–1126), one of the first troubadour poets.Poets adopted the terminology of feudalism, declaring themselves the vassal ofthe lady and addressing her as midons (my lord), a sort of code name so that thepoet did not have to reveal the ladys name, but which was flattering by addressingher as his lord. The troubadours model of the ideal lady was the wife of hisemployer or lord, a lady of higher status, usually the rich and powerful femalehead of the castle. When her husband was away on Crusade or other business shedominated the household and cultural affairs; sometimes this was the case evenwhen the husband was at home. The lady was rich and powerful and the poet gavevoice to the aspirations of the courtier class, for only those who were noble couldengage in courtly love. This new kind of love saw nobility not based on wealthand family history, but on character and actions; thus appealing to poorer knightswho saw an avenue for advancement.
Since at the time marriage had little to do with love, courtly love wasalso a way for nobles to express the love not found in their marriage."Lovers" in the context of courtly love did not refer to sex, but ratherthe act of emotional loving. These "lovers" had short dates insecret, which escalated mentally, but never physically
• English Medieval literature had, so far as we know, no existence until Christian times of the Dark Ages when Latin was the language of English literature.• English Medieval literature was not written. It is was passed by word of mouth from one generation to another by English, Welsh and Irish bards.• Tales told by the Bards were transferred into book form and the romantic stories of the Arthurian legend and the ideals of courtly love became part of Medieval literature.• The main source of information about King Arthur and the Arthurian Legend was written by a Welsh cleric and author called Geoffrey of Monmouth who wrote a fictional book called Historia Regum Britanniae - the History of the Kings of Britain in 1136.
Medieval literature was written by a variety of authors and poets, manyof which are included in the following list:Caedmon (657–680) was the first English poet of whom we have anyknowledge and credited with the authorship of "The Dream of theHoly Rood"Venerable Bede (673-735) who wrote the Ecclesiastical History ofEngland and the scientific treatise, De Natura RerumGeoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400) Famous Medieval author of theCanterbury Tales
Margery Kempe (1373 - c1438) Famous as the author of the firstautobiography in EnglishJohn Gower (1325 - 1408) was famous as a Medieval Poet and friend ofGeoffrey ChaucerFrancesco Petrarch (1304 - 1374) was famous as an Italian poet, andhumanist and for his poems which were addressed to LauraDante (1265 – 1321) famous as a Medieval Poet and PoliticianChristine de Pizan (1364 -1430) famous as a Medieval author and feministWilliam Longland (c1332 - c1386) who was famous as an English Poetwho wrote the Vision of Piers PlowmanBoccaccio (1313 - 1375) an Italian writer who was famous for writing theDecameronRaphael Holinshed (c1529 - 1580) Famous as the Medieval Author ofHolinsheds Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland