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The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition (Oxford Paperbacks) Paperback – November 7, 1985
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Unhappily for the book's long-term reputation, Lewis was persuaded to add to the planned text an earlier summary of modern theories of "courtly love" in medieval life and literature. Lewis himself noted that this theoretical construction did not quite fit the texts he analyzed in detail, and the whole approach is now regarded as at best problematic, and by many as simply wrong. Since Lewis presented the material with unusual clarity and wit, however, he has come to be treated as an authoritative source on "Courtly Love" theory by some, and attacked as such by others.
The rest of the book, being based on original studies of primary sources, retains much of its value. Later textual studies and shifts in crticial theory have only slightly diminished its value, and his discussions of such now-obscure writers as Martianus Capella remain among the most inviting of introductions. Lewis' treatment of "The Romance of the Rose" is still illuminating (and the point of departure for many recent re-considerations).Read more ›
The main point of the first part of the book is that the concept of love changed in the literature of France in the eleventh century and has influenced the arts up to our day. Many years later, however, in "The Four Loves," Lewis admits that he had treated the concept of love too much like a literary phenomenon and failed to see that many characteristics of erotic love which he had attributed to eleventh-century France are in fact characteristics that lie in the very nature of erotic love (e.g., the tendency to make love into a god who sanctions any crime committed in its name).
Having said this, "The Allegory of Love" is still a great academic work that delights as much as it instructs - a milestone in the Lewis Canon.
"The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition" is the book which made C.S. Lewis' reputation as a critic of medieval and renaissance literature, in advance of his later fame as a Christian apologist, a fantasy writer, or a poet; his earliest works in these fields having been published under pseudonyms.
"The Allegory of Love" was first published in 1936, and has been reprinted many times, in hardcover at least into the 1970s, and in paperback from the late 1950s. Unfortunately, it has been out of print for some time, and third-party offering of re-printings (which have been listed separately by Amazon) have been rather high-priced.
It is therefore a pleasure to report that it has been scheduled for re-release in December 2013, by Cambridge University Press (Canto imprint); and that, as of November, HarperCollins has made a less expensive version available on Kindle, with hyper-linked notes (but no index; apparently the Kindle Search Engine is supposed to serve, IF you can remember the spellings of medieval names....).
There is (or was) another Kindle edition, without the notes, but using the cover art of what was the most recent Canto edition.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Required reading for students of medieval and Renaissance literature, though more suitable for those already somewhat initiated into the mysteries of allegorical writing, as Lewis... Read morePublished 3 months ago by David V
A classic interpretation of medieval literature, of course. But the casual, uneducated reader--one who is not a specialist in medieval and classical literature--should be aware... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Nachem
This book by C. S Lewis is one of the most important contributions to courtly love studies. The future of books is electronic. All books should be available in kindle format.Published 10 months ago by Luis Carlos Henao
The cover of the book is dammaged, and the inside of the wraping bag was all messed up, it had a dust that come from the wraping bag ant it was all a messPublished 10 months ago by Nayely Arredondo
Outstanding historical study. And Lewis's prose shines.Published 11 months ago by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
C.S. Lewis is such an accessible writer you don't have to be a literary major to enjoy his contribution to the study of the early modern period. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Paige Ambroziak
This is very much the text OUP published in 1936, though it does lack the index. It's CSL's greatest critical achievement.Published 20 months ago by Thomas L. Jeffers