Romantic love is a relative term, but generally accepted as a definition that distinguishes moments and situations within interpersonal relationships to an individual as contributing to a significant relationship connection.
So far so good. Ah but it’s a term that has a considerable historical pedigree and as a historical writer that has to be taken into consideration.
Historians believe that the actual English word “romance” developed from a vernacular dialect within the French language meaning “verse narrative”—referring to the style of speech, writing, and artistic talents within elite classes. The word was originally an adverb of the Latin origin “Romanicus,” meaning “of the Roman style.” The connecting notion is that European medieval vernacular tales were usually about chivalric adventure, not combining the idea of love until late into the seventeenth century.
So until the 1600s ‘romance’ had nothing to do with love but had everything to do with adventure? But where does that leave the concepts of courtly love as laid down in the 12th century in De Arte Honeste Amandi by Andreas Capellanus. The idea of courtly love – that of a true knight for a lady immeasurably his superior – was been taken as a blueprint for how a loving relationship should be initiated, conducted and consummated, along in Capellanus’ work consummation was never the aim.
The most ennobling love is generally secret (i.e., not public), extremely difficult to obtain and unconsummated, serving as a means for inspiring men to great deeds.
It seemed to work at the time but it’s not particularly satisfying by modern standards. I need a modern definition so for that I suppose I’d best go to the well-head again – the Romance Writers of America [there’s a UK branch but one might as well deal with head office]. Here is what they have to say about it:
Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending.
A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.
An Emotionally-Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.
Ah. Okay then. I don’t write romance novels. My heroes always have other things on their minds and fit in love if they can. Also blind and unconditional love seems much less satisfying to me than love bestowed in the full knowledge that the loved one has many flaws and needs a firm hand to keep them in check.
However I do love a massive series of stories that manage to combine the essence of both the classic ideal of courtly love at least part of the RWAs guidelines.
The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett combine high romance with deliciously detailed historical settings, action sequences, humour, pathos, atrocity and a slow build love story [the heroine is 10 when the tale begins] that is heart in mouth angsty by the final volume.
It’s not at all your usual eyes meet across a crowded room to wedding bells in 150 pages type of story but ticks every possible box for me.
Who could forget the delicious Mikal, the Geomancer, in his purple silk ‘garment’. Or Jerrott Blythe. Or smart mouthed Danny Hislop. Or Turkey Matt.
Then there’s Ivan the Terrible. Mary Tudor. Suleiman the Magnificent. Nostradamus. John Dee. All the great personalities of the 16th century.
If you like your romance to arrive on horseback, cap a pied, sword in hand with a rapier wit and a devastating intellect, Francis Crawford of Lymond is the hero for you.
A blog hop wouldn’t be a blog hop without a giveaway and boy, oh boy, does Carrie Ann have a giveaway for you.
THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 100 times!
Now what are those prizes?
1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: The following Swag Pack!
Anyhow, click on the picture at the top or the picture of the swag to get to Carrie Ann’s blog where all the action is or comment below and I’ll do a draw – the winner to recieve a copy of Alike As Two Bees, which is at least a little romantic even if it doesn’t entirely follow the RWA’s rules. Please note: the relationship is m/m and it’s not erotic.
To find more blogs to hop to click here.