Friday, January 02, 2015

Anon. Chivalry, The Path of Love (1994)

     Anon. Chivalry, The Path of Love (1994) This is one of those little gift books that are assembled, not written, a scrapbook of lore that one gives to people when one doesn’t know what else to give them. It contains a number of nicely chosen and well-printed illustrations and a potted history of the Code of Chivalry and Courtly Love. It alludes to the darker side of gender relations in the Middle Ages, and gives a quick once-over of the evolution of what was essentially a convention of fiction and poetry into a code of manners and eventually an ideal that people still admire and which underpins our present-day notions of secular virtues. It does hint at the more complex meanings coded into courtly love poetry, and so may well trigger an urge to research this rather curious feature of our civilisation. The only author credit is for the introduction, by Jeremy Catto, Fellow of Oriel College. It’s better made than most such gift books, both as a physical object and as a source of information. **½

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