“Troubadours: Poets of southern France, northern Italy, and Catalunya who flourished from the 12th to the 13th century and wrote primarily in Occitan. The term is derived from the Occitan verb trobar, to compose. Troubadour poetry is best known through the elaborately formal lyrical Canso which celebrated courtly love and chivalry, and for proposing a fusion of aesthetic sensibility with the ability to love. During the 13th century nonlyrical genres, such as the sirventes, and the narrative works, such as the Canso de la crozada, became prevalent. Eleanor of Aquitaine was a noted patron of troubadours who introduced troubadour themes and lyrical conventions at the courts of northern France. The trobairitz were female poets of southern France who wrote in Occitan in the same period. Most trobairitz, such as Beatrice de Dia, Cara d’Andeza, and Na Castelloza practiced the Canso and other lyric genres. (See TROUVERES; GUILLAUME IX; BERNARD DE VENTADOR; and BETRAN DE BORN.)”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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