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A classic study of the rise and fall of medieval courtly culture, finally available in paperback.
Every aspect of courtly culture comes to life in Joachim Bumke s extraordinarily rich and well-documented presentation. A renowned medievalist with an encyclopedic knowledge of original sources and a passion for history, Bumke overlooks no detail, from the material realities of aristocratic society the castles and clothing, weapons and transportation, food, drink, and table etiquette to the behavior prescribed and practiced at tournaments, knighting ceremonies, and great princely feasts. The courtly knight and courtly lady, and the transforming idea of courtly love, are seen through the literature that celebrated them, and we learn how literacy among an aristocratic laity spread from France through Germany and became the basis of a cultural revolution. At the same time, Bumke clearly challenges those who have comfortably confused the ideals of courtly culture with their expression in courtly society.
This book merits attention well beyond medieval German literary and historical circles. . . . Bumke is intent on demolishing the myth that the idealized patterns of behavior in courtly literature are an accurate reflection of the reality of aristocratic life. William Henry Jackson, Speculum
Monumental, exhaustive, definitive. These are the qualifiers that come to mind as one peruses the medieval scholar Bumke s astonishing and encyclopedic accomplishment. . . . R. J. Cormier, Choice
Bumke examines medieval courtly culture entirely anew, bringing to bear upon the presently available material the most modern scholarship. The scholarship in this work is not only superior, it is superb. Franz Bauml, University of California, Los Angeles
Joachim Bumke is Professor of German at the University of Cologne. Courtly Culture, a great success in Germany, is his second book to be translated into English; the first was Knighthood in the Middle Ages.