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Pastourelle (Word Definition) French Medieval Poetry


Pastourelle Definitions:
"a type of poetry concerning the romance of a shepherdess". [Wiktionary]

"A French (or Provençcal) medieval lyric characterized by its pastoral theme, usually the attempted seduction of a shepherdess by a gallant knight. Many examples survive from the troubadour and trouvère repertory of the 12th and 13th centuries." [Answers.com]
Pastourelle Interesting Facts:
  • The pastourelle poetic form contrasts with that of songs of courtly love.
  • In courtly love the object of desire is a noble lady where clear social constraints dictate events.
  • In the pastourelle, a commoner is the object of desire, with less refined associations-outcomes described or implied.
  • The point of view of a pastourelle is that of the man (knight).
Pastourelle Origins & History:
  • From the French.
  • Pastourelle is the French spelling of the Occitan word Pastorella.
  • Typically an Old French lyric form concerning the romance of a shepherdess (pictured).
  • This poetic form originated with the medieval troubadour poets of the 12th century.
  • In particular the form is associated with the poet Marcabru.
  • In the early pastourelles, the poet knight meets a shepherdess who gets the better of him in a wit battle, but also displays general coyness.
  • The poet knight (narrator) usually has sexual relations with the shepherdess, either by consent or rape.
  • Later examples of this poetic form moved toward pastoral poetry by having a shepherd & also sometimes a love quarrel.
  • Pastourelle, as a poetic troubadour form, blended with goliard poetry & was practiced in France & Occitan until the Carmina Burana of c. 1230.
  • The pastourelle, in Spanish literature, influenced the serranilla.
  • By the 15th century pastourelles existed in French, English, Welsh & German.

Image - Painting of a Shepherdess by
William Bouguereau - 'Pastourelle'

Tags:
Courtly Love - French - Knight - Medieval - Occitan - Pastourelle - Poetry - Seduction - Shepherdess - Troubadour - William Bouguereau

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