Courting the divine: The religion of love in el siervo libre de amor, la celestina and amadis de gaula

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2008-12

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Abstract

The tradition of courtly love in Spain, perhaps most visible in texts of the pre-Quixote era, gained fervency in literary circles, almost to the extreme of making courtly love into a religion in itself. This concept of the Religion of Love stands out among the other traits in the movement and is particularly visible in the literature of late medieval through early Renassance Spain.

Love is set forth as a deity to be worshipped in a new religion that infuses the Catholic beliefs in vogue in the day with classical tropes and often serves as a supplement to and/or an escape from traditional religious practices. To serve love, the knight fulfills the role of a triune lover, serving his lady as her solider, her servant and her saint, roles that correspond to body, soul and spirit, respectively. The lady’s dual nature in the dyad is that of woman and goddess, allowing the lover to worship her human and divine characteristics.

This thesis aims to contribute to the body of knowledge on Spanish courtly love by first examining the nature of the Religion of Love, as originally set forth by C.S. Lewis in the Allegory of Love, as it appears in three distinct works of the period, La Celestina, El siervo libre de amor, and the first book of Amadís de Gaula, and to show that the Religion of Love is both the most obvious of the Lewis’ marks of courtly love and the most outstanding trait in the aforementioned works.

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Keywords

Courtly love, Siervo Libre de Amor, Amadis, Celestina

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