Eleanor of Aquitaine: Queen of the Troubadours

Eleanor of Aquitaine: Queen of the Troubadours

by JeanMarkale (Author)


Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204) has been long noted for her political and cultural achievements that profoundly shaped twelfth-century Europe. Culturally, beyond her role as wife of kings Louis VII of France and Henry II of England and mother of kings Richard and John, she inspired the huge diffusion of the Arthurian cycle and the Celtic myths underpinning it. Without Eleanor, figures such as Merlin, Arthur and Guinevere (for whom Eleanor served as model) would never have assumed the enormous symbolic value they now possess. Politically, she embodied divine power that ended the dark age of patriarchy, playing a crucial role not only in the development of the Plantagenet Empire, but, also, in the granting of charters to merchants and craftsmen that led to the birth of the modern middle class. But her greatest influence, still shaping modern sensibilities, was her role as the symbol of courtly love, which was not a mere diversion of the aristocracy but a process of male initiation and transcendence that bears a close resemblance to Indian Tantra. While the Virgin Mary was restoring a feminine face to mediaeval religious life, Eleanor embodied the adulterous queen who incarnates sovereignty - the woman who shares authority with the men who act in her name, but only after that power has been transmitted to them through an initiatory process leading to sexual union.


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More Information

Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
Edition: 1st U.S. Ed
Publisher: Inner Traditions International
Published: 15 Dec 2007

ISBN 10: 1594771952
ISBN 13: 9781594771958

Media Reviews
In a work of masterly scholarship, Jean Markale presents a fascinating portrait of a woman: history and myth intermingle as Eleanor, queen of France and England, is revealed as the embodiment of Guinevere and queen of the troubadours at her court of love. * Jill Line, author of Shakespeare and the Ideal of Love *
Collections strong in medieval studies, both at the high school and college level, will find this a different kind of biographical coverage which examines the spiritual representation of Eleanor of Aquitaine. * The Bookwatch, The Midwest Book Review, Feb 2008 *
This absorbing book charts the historical image of the medieval queen to the mythological and never does it bore. Indeed, a wonderful take on the ascent of feminism told through the quill of a true storyteller. * Payal Patel, Feminist Review, Jan 2008 *
. . . for women who have sought a true queen who puts our childhood Disney princesses to shame, Eleanor is that queen. * Smokey Trudeau, Sage Woman, No. 74, May 2008 *
I must admit that though I love history it often leaves me in the dust because so many timelines overlap. Jean Markale's biography of the 'Queen of the Troubadours' is concise and orderly, and illuminates an incredible figure in history. By mixing historical fact with theory, questioning some unclear points and offering his own speculation (and making it clear that it is speculation) Markale manages to keep the reader engaged, on track, and encourages readers to philosophize on presented theories if so inclined. * Nicole S. Kapise, The Pagan Review, May 2008 *
Author Bio
Poet, philosopher, historian, and storyteller, Jean Markale has spent a lifetime researching pre-Christian and medieval culture and spirituality. He is the author of more than 40 books, including Montsegur and the Mystery of the Cathars, The Church of Mary Magdalene, The Druids, The Celts, Merlin, and Women of the Celts. A former specialist in Celtic studies at the Sorbonne, he lives in the Brittany region of France.