In this volume a variety of perspectives reevaluate the nature of friendship, desire, and the olde daunce of love in the Middle Ages. Challenging earlier scholarly notions about medieval marriage, this book suggests and explores the legitimacy of marital friendship, affection, and mutuality. The authors explore the relationship of medieval love to companionship, equality, and power, and relate medieval expressions of love to a number of issues including creativity, reading and writing, voyeurism, chastity, violence, and even hate.
The book reconsiders the theological, philosophical, and legal background of medieval attitudes toward marriage, analyzes expressions of love and desire in European vernacular literature, and considers several implications of Chaucer's treatment of love, marriage, and sexuality.
Robert R. Edwards is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of The Dream of Chaucer: Representation and Reflection in Chaucer's Early Narrative; Ratio and Invention: A Study of Medieval Lyric and Narrative; The Poetry of Guido Guinizelli; and The Montecassino Passion and the Poetics of Medieval Drama. Stephen Spector is Professor of English at State University of New York at Stony Brook and the author of The Genesis of the N-town Cycle and Essays in Paper Analysis.
"The work comprises essays on an important subject by well-known and excellent medievalists and will prove a most useful collection to those engaged in a study of love, sex, friendship, and their role in human civilization. All the essays in this collection are embedded in first-rate scholarship and presentation and will greatly enhance medieval critical study, especially that of Middle English literature." — Dorothee Metlitzki, Yale University