Scholars and Courtiers: Intellectuals and Society in the Medieval West
The creative and intellectual life of the early and high Middle Ages in the West was sustained by learned worldly clerics. Their rich culture was slow to be discovered in its fullness partly because church history tended to dominate perspectives on clerical life, while the chivalric literature of the courts was seen as reflecting values and ideals of secular culture, however busy clerical authors may have been in the recording of it. These essays bring new approaches to these questions, showing the deep and decisive engagement of clerical 'scholars and courtiers' in the major realms of medieval secular intellectual and social life. Medieval humanism, cathedral school education, courtly love and courtesy, and the 'renaissance' of the 12th century are among the topics covered. 'Orpheus in the Eleventh Century' illuminates the function and nature of Latin poetry in both the schools and society, two essays focus on Abelard, while others reconsider the historical relationship of 11th-century worldly culture to that of the 12th. The author suggests a cultural unity of schools, cathedral communities, and secular courts, created by this class of scholar/courtiers.
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