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Andreas Capellanus, Scholasticism, and the Courtly Tradition

Don A. Monson

Publication Year: 2012

This book, the first study in English devoted entirely to Andreas Capellanus's De Amore, presents a comprehensive inquiry into the influence of scholasticism on the structure and organization of the work, applying methods of medieval philosophy and intellectual history to an important problem in medieval literary studies.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii

In the course of completing this study, I have incurred many debts to individuals and to institutions. The College of William and Mary, the University of Pennsylvania, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Clare Hall, Cambridge, and Kenyon College have all provided financial and other material support for my research, for which I am ...


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pp. ix

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pp. 1-8

The medieval treatise on love attributed to Andreas Capellanus has become the subject of seemingly endless controversy. The past forty years have produced several books and numerous articles on the subject, yet we appear to be nowhere near anything like a consensus on the major issues that it raises. The fundamental matters on which no ...

I. Problems of form: Andreas and the scholastic method

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1. The Problem of Genre: Description versus Prescription

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pp. 11-41

What kind of a work is the De amore? Leaving aside for the moment the question of its specific content, I believe we can agree that it is, at least ostensibly, a didactic work, one that purports to teach something.1 That intention is conveyed from the very first sentence of the preface through the use ...

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2. Love and the Arts: Rhetoric versus Dialectic

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pp. 42-85

In the previous chapter we referred on several occasions to the liberal arts of the trivium. We must now come back to this important subject and explore in some detail the considerable role that two of these arts, rhetoric and dialectic, played in shaping the De amore. But first we must say a word about the place of ...

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3. The Intertextuality of Love: Authorities and Models

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pp. 86-121

Having examined in Chapter 2 the use that Andreas makes of the liberal arts of the trivium, we must now take a closer look at his relationship to his sources. The two subjects are closely related, for it is the application of the liberal arts, especially dialectic, to textual material inherited from the past that constitutes the core of medieval ...

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4. The Problem of Irony: Andreas and the Critics

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pp. 122-166

An important aspect of the form of the De amore remains to be discussed: the question of Andreas’s alleged use of irony. This question does not arise from the language of the treatise itself, for neither the Greek borrowing ironia nor its Latin calque dissimulatio appears there. Nor is irony a major component of the scholastic ...

II. Problems of meaning: Andreas and the courtly themes

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5. Love and the Ontological Order: Andreas’s Scholastic Definition

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pp. 169-197

In the preceding chapters we have seen that the De amore is a complex didactic enterprise interweaving the separate generic vectors that we have called ars, scientia, and sapientia, and that it is organized according to principles derived from the arts of the trivium, rhetoric and dialectic, especially the latter. We have also seen that, in accordance ...

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6. Love and the Natural Order: Psychology and Physiology

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pp. 198-237

Chapter One of the De amore offers an essentially psychological definition of love, as we have seen. It identifies the phenomenon under discussion as an “internal affect” (passio innata), that is, an emotion, then it goes on to describe its specific character in terms of the (“efficient”) causes, physical and psychological, that give rise ...

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7. Love and the Social Order: Courtly Values and Feudal Society

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pp. 238-286

The complex of medieval love conceptions commonly known as “courtly love” contains an important social component. The term that many modern scholars use to designate these ideas refers first of all to the social milieu in which they originated, the aristocratic circles of the feudal courts. Whether or not they reflect the social practices ...

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8. Love and the Moral Order: Courtly Values and Christian Ethics

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pp. 287-343

In any society, love between the sexes has significant moral implications and raises important moral problems; in none more so than in the Christian society of the Middle Ages. Throughout the period, the clergy of the Christian Church struggled, more or less successfully depending on time and place, to impose on secular society the ...

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pp. 345-352

As we approach the end of our inquiry, we can return to the questions with which we began: Why are Andreas Capellanus and his treatise on love so controversial? What is there about the De amore that makes it the object of such intense interest and, at the same time, such diverse interpretations? To what extent do divergent accounts of ...


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pp. 353-366


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pp. 367-371


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pp. 372-374


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pp. 375-377


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pp. 378-383

Production Notes

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E-ISBN-13: 9780813216317
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813214191

Page Count: 397
Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • André, le chapelain. De amore et amoris remedio.
  • Love.
  • Courtly love.
  • Courtly love in literature.
  • Scholasticism.
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