Archive for the ‘Getting On And Getting Off’ Category

Free Love In The Cathedral Close

People imagine that they know that the Roman Catholic clergy have always been celibate. In fact, there was no serious attempt to impose celibacy on them before the late eleventh century, when it began with the “nudge” of Urban II’s cullagium or sin tax; an attempt that was never wholly successful. Moreover, inasmuch as the […]

Posted on April 21, 2010 at 10:55 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: GETTING MEDIEVAL, Getting On And Getting Off

Paradoxes Of Lust And Consent

Most modern people are morally outraged by arranged marriages and do their best to prevent immigrant communities practising them. They are assuming that marriage “ought” to be founded on romantic or sexual passion. This modern attitude becomes a paradox when seen in the light of its origins, because our language of romance and passion actually […]

Posted on April 22, 2010 at 11:36 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: GETTING MEDIEVAL, Getting On And Getting Off

Marriage As Prostitution; Héloïse And Marie De France

Our sexual individualism is the product not only of the Church’s doctrine of consensual marriage, but also of the simultaneous elaboration of what we call Courtly Love, which by definition was not envisaged as existing or even possible between husband and wife. Just what it meant socially, politically and economically to praise and cultivate romantic […]

Posted on April 23, 2010 at 11:04 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: GETTING MEDIEVAL, Getting On And Getting Off

Medieval PC

Our own term for the alleged sentimental revolution of the twelfth century, “Courtly Love,” is a not-very-accurate translation of one of the main phrases used in the period itself, namely Fin’amour. The medieval name suggests that, rather than being a two-hander, love is now considered a three-cornered match: the man, the woman, and some exterior […]

Posted on April 24, 2010 at 10:44 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: GETTING MEDIEVAL, Getting On And Getting Off

The Invention Of The Mistress

Perhaps paradoxically, considering the medieval roots of romance and the role of contractual relations, the late twentieth century’s rethinking of amatory behaviour rejected the idea of contract entirely; a wife must now explicitly and freely consent to each sexual act afresh, as if it were the first date. Both Héloïse and the courtly poets would […]

Posted on April 25, 2010 at 10:59 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: GETTING MEDIEVAL, Getting On And Getting Off

Bachelor Knights On The Make

A quite different approach to Courtly Love is to see it as transference to the amatory sphere of the characteristic relationships, rituals and language of the feudal bond between a man and his lord; or the other way round, viewing the feudal bond as an eroticisation of politics. When you did homage, you knelt before […]

Posted on April 26, 2010 at 10:57 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: GETTING MEDIEVAL, Getting On And Getting Off

Worshipping Ladies, Raping Peasants

It is most unfortunate that the phenomenon of Courtly Love was so popularised and painted in the High Victorian era, as part of the Gothic Revival and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. It bequeathed to us the fatal ideas that there really existed a form of courtly love that did not at any point involve actual (sweaty, […]

Posted on April 27, 2010 at 10:54 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: GETTING MEDIEVAL, Getting On And Getting Off

Get Thee To A Nunnery!

One of the commonest myths of the Middle Ages is that the Church cracked down brutally on your premarital sex, provided that you were a woman. In fact the more potent variable was marital status: the Church was relatively lenient towards fornication on the part of unmarried people of either sex. For a single girl […]

Posted on April 28, 2010 at 11:40 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: GETTING MEDIEVAL, Getting On And Getting Off

To Come Or Not To Come

Some of the poets of courtly love repudiated the notion of contract, and went even further, insisting that the passion not be consummated physically at all. “It is no longer courtly love if it is materialised,” says Daude of Prades, “or if the Lady yields as reward.” “I have a lady friend, but I do […]

Posted on April 29, 2010 at 09:53 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: GETTING MEDIEVAL, Getting On And Getting Off

Did You Emit Your Female Seed, Darling?

One of the many ways in which people misread history backwards from the nineteenth century is in assuming that the “Sexual Revolution” brought us the new idea that “girls want to have fun”; assuming that the strange notion that the belief that women didn’t or shouldn’t enjoy sex was held by not only the Victorians […]

Posted on April 30, 2010 at 09:41 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: GETTING MEDIEVAL, Getting On And Getting Off