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L’Amour Courtois: Really a phenomenon of just the Middle Ages?

After the “epopee” or epic that greatly valorizes the honor of a chevalier who dies in the battle field, literature took on a new dimension, with love playing an essential role. The chevalier was now more eager to prove his worth to his mistress than to his land. It was not just important to love but win his love over the others.
Almost ten centuries later, the concept of love, for men, does not seem to have changed much. This is especially true for Indian men (am not commenting on others as I hardly know any). L’amour courtois rejects all kinds of indiscretion and also any hasty confession of love, everything has to be done as per a “code of conduct”: friendship --> courtship (the most important and probably also the longest lasting stage) --> love.
Is it related to the masculinity of men and their perpetual need to prove it to themselves and to others? Even in today’s age, men prefer a woman who plays the role of the Dame courtoise, or of the Indian “devi” in the Indian context, who needs to be venerated and pleased. A woman, who breaks this code of conduct, is not quite popular among men. What is really interesting is to trace this to the Indian mythology. Studies on collective unconscious conclude that at the back of the mind, the Indian woman has an intense desire to imitate Sita, to please her spouse. But we must not forget that in order to get this treatment from her, Rama first had to break the “baan” and win her over. But the modern scenario resembles l’amour courtois more where it is not enough to prove just one’s physical strength but also to seduce her with mastery over the art of loving.
As I am no expert of either medieval age literature or Indian mythology or have any concrete proof to support this hypothesis, I can only express my opinion and wait for a counterargument. I would love to read your point of view on this. Please respond to this post.


  1. Very interesting commentary..makes for an excellent read.. but write more na..elaborate..and what exactly does L’Amour Courtois mean?

  2. thank you ren. l'amour courtois literally means courtly love (thus obviously involving the nobility) it's often adulterous love. i m basically looking at the "rules" of l'amour courtois rather than its type.

  3. just in class that day i was wondering how dumb it is to wait for ages together to get what one wants.. especially when it comes to love.. but then again, thats how things were, are and probably would be in the ages to come..

    i totally side what youv gotta say here.. about men, sure.. about what you had to say about women too.. easy-to-get women are hardly ever very popular.. the amount of courtoisie that needs to be done to finally win her over is what stimulates the male ego.. like a chase.. a hunt..

    but then again, when you look at it from a collective unconscious level [and here i dont talk about only indian men.. i wanna talk about the male species in general spread over the world], i think you should head back further than the middle ages.. to the time of the 'Cave man'.. in those days, men were supposed to go hunting and chase animals.. thats all they ever did.. hunting was a major activity.. few centuries down the line that changed.. but the thirst and the inbuilt habitude and desire to chase never left the male species.. and thats how can be explained the behavorial pattern.. the sense of conquering can be traced up to the middle ages where like you said, it was in the honor of the land.. the most imp was conquering..
    i know it sound very dumb, but i seriously feel that its the same with love.. its more about conquering what you are chasing.. it gives them a high..

    i dunno, maybe m just blabbering.. what u think?

  4. i like this! i like the form that this discussion is taking! i like the point u made bout the "cave age" man. but m sure "men" would have a different take on this :)

  5. I agree with vaidehi, in the case of guys its more about chasing and conquering and they like it but then again there's a limit to it. If the girl is too hard to impress they might consider her behavior as high handed and might even consider droping her:P So this isn't true with respect to all guys.

    Also, I don't agree that all girls need to be the Indian devi to be liked by guys. I know so many tomboyish girls who are happily committed and many guys who don't mind dating such girls:)

    Sometimes I feel Love is all a matter of luck <3

  6. hey! its me again.. i'm gonna crowd this page.. whatever..! :P

    yes i agree with Henna too.. its all very vague and cant be generalised.. there are of course come exceptions..

    and then again, the women, we didnt talk about.. what about them? they like being chased too.. the more she is chased, the more it gives her a high too.. she liked being pampered, likes being waited for [again this is very general, but there are exceptions.. like me.. i'd puke if a guy wore my colors to show his love or whatevr instead of just doing the simpler thing of sayin it out loud.. :s]

    but most enjoy the attention.. and then its like, the more the better..

    its a reciprocative thing you know.. one gives, cause there is a demand.. but then, at least we have an explanation of men behaviour.. from where did women learn to be so demanding, i dunno! :P lol..

  7. @hen: thats not what i meant by "devi" here. its like.. men like to place her on a podium thats too high for him and then try to make himself worth her.
    a good thing of our times is that after having conquered her, women r getting the status of an equal, which was not the case a decade earlier, she was either a goddess or a footmat!

    @vai: ya, i agree about your point about women wanting attention. i wanted to include that in the article but somehow it was not fitting in.

  8. about what vaidehi said regarding the chasing n conquering part....i have a different side to add...there is this evolutionary theory that comes in our says that since the beginning of our civilization, men have searched for women who are fit and goodlooking and who can help them reproduce their offsprings such that their genes survive. and thus, to win such a woman, men competed n fought with each other. this fighting may have turned into wooing or impressing the women these days....n i think since evolution women also have this expectation in-built in them that men should fight for them, try to impress them to win them....thus they too demand attention from men.... :) hope this theory suffices u guys to some extent...

  9. wow!! interesting! ya may be... although its a lil in today's world when women want this kinda attention but then as u said, its in-built


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