Alex Li

Ideals of Gender and Romance Portrayed in the Literature of Courtly Love
 
Interdisciplinary: Literature, History, Gender Studies
Volume 5 | Issue II | June 2021
Commonwealth School ’22
Massachusetts, USA
 
I study biology and East Asian languages and civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. I am interested in topics of gender and sexuality within pre-modern Japan, and enjoy doing cancer research as well as ballroom dancing in my free time. My paper examines how male and female troubadours began to explore platonic and sexual love through courtly literature, which sets the stage for modern-day romance and courtship, adding ‘love’ to the equation of marriage above socioeconomic considerations. Most scholarly literature on courtly love focuses on the words of male troubadours who were the main consumers and creators of courtly literature. However, the poems by female troubadours, or trobairitz, offer an important and unique view into how women at the time embraced the idea of courtly love and responded to the male-dominated literary genre. My paper explores how the writings of troubadours and trobairitz may reflect a larger conversation of idealized relationships, despite societal restrictions. Writing and publishing an essay in The Schola allowed me to appreciate that interesting findings in history can be shared with people around the world. I hope to continue researching diverse topics of my interest in history and share discoveries from my research.
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