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Carlos García Gual

The cultural renaissance of the 12th Century. Errant knights and reading ladies URL:
In the 12th century, the literature that is written is done in young vulgar languages, and not in the scholar clerical Latin anymore, celebrating passional love (this is, l´amour, "that invention of the 12th century") and knightly courtesy and adventure. It would gain a splendid relevance in the medieval Europe and aim at new horizons. The literary fashions will have feudal France as the cultural center, but will disseminate early into other countries. Epic songs of heroic deeds will be followed by troubadour lyric singing a more or less courteous erotism, and by the novelesque fictions of the fantastic adventures led by bold errant knights. Echoes of passionate tales of tragic love can be heard, like Tristan and Iseult or Lancelot and Geneva, and stories of heroic deeds by lonely heroes in the search of the utopian and ideal court of the mythical King Arthur, on the quest for a kidnapped noble dame or the Holy Grail, all clear proofs of the feverish fantasy of a time period of unstoppable poetic commitment, the time of the first Gothic art and of the so-called "first European Renaissance". The romans of Alexandre, of Troya, of Eneas and of Tebas are followed by the fast-paced novels of Chrétien de Troyes, the first great European novelist, with a Faerie and Celtic background, and instead of the ancient Alexandre now the King Arthur shines. The subtile erotism and refined courtesy show the literary tastes of the new courtly audience, where the tone is provided by the the gentle ladies and maidens who read and stimulate the fantasies of the early Romanticism. The echoes of those chimeric stories and refined ideals and their exemplary passion will resonate at length, maybe with nostalgia an irony, in the many novels and readers of the posterior novelesque literature.
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