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What is a chivalric romance?

A genre of medieval literature that features stories of knights, chivalry, courtly love, and adventure.

Chivalric Romances: Delving Deeper into Medieval Literature

A chivalric romance is a genre of medieval literature that features stories of knights, chivalry, courtly love, and adventure. These romances were popular in the late Middle Ages and were often set in the Arthurian world. They revolve around knights and their codes of honor and chivalry, often depicting their trials and tribulations in the pursuit of love and glory.

Chivalric romances are known for their highly idealized portrayal of courtly love, a concept that emerged in the medieval courts of Europe. Courtly love was a ritualized form of love between a knight and his lady, characterized by restraint, discretion, and devotion. It was often the focus of chivalric romances, which portrayed the pursuit of the ideal love as one of the highest goals of chivalry.

Many chivalric romances also featured elements of adventure and fantasy. Knights often embarked on quests or fought against supernatural foes, such as dragons or giants. These fantastical elements added to the appeal of the genre, transporting readers to far-off lands and exotic settings.

While chivalric romances have their roots in medieval literature, they continue to inspire writers and readers today. Their themes of chivalry, love, and adventure resonate with us across time and culture, reminding us of the enduring power of great storytelling.

Knightly Tales: Two Examples of Chivalric Romance in Literature
Here are two examples of chivalric romance in literature:
Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory

Le Morte d'Arthur is a 15th-century compilation of chivalric romances that tells the story of King Arthur, his knights of the Round Table, and their quests for adventure, love, and noble deeds.

The Romance of Tristan and Iseult by Unknown

The Romance of Tristan and Iseult is a 12th-century French tale of courtly love and tragic romance between Tristan, a Cornish knight, and Iseult, an Irish princess.