revistas electrónicas de la Universidad de Granada

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Wagner, and Garcí Rodriguez de Montalvo: The Ideas and Ideals of Courtly Love

Tatyana Kovalevskaya


The article considers the problem of chivalric love in Dostoevsky compared to its Western origins and later manifestations. Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser and Garcí Rodriguez de Montalvo’s Amadis of Gaul are used as examples of the chivalric tradition in those of its continuous manifestations that were relevant for Dostoevsky. A study of the three authors demonstrates both similarities and differences in their approaches to the topic of courtly love. While being a relevant topos for both Montalvo and Wagner, courtly love merits only a few passing references from Dostoevsky; however, these references indicate his profound understanding of the nature of this cultural phenomenon; Dostoevsky juxtaposes courtly love with both platonic love (sometimes assumed to equal courtly love as such) and carnal lust that some of this characters are in thrall to. It may be said that Dostoevsky unexpectedly comes to a true understanding of the courtly love that bears certain resemblance to his own cherished ideals. The notions of fidelity and power are also found to be central to all three authors, while the notion of sacrifice unites Dostoevsky and Wagner. However, Dostoevsky develops his very own representations of ideal love that include some elements that come from previous cultural traditions, yet are infused with unmistakably Dostoevsky’s own ideas of humanity and proper relationships between humans.

Palabras clave

carnal love, spiritual love, power, fidelity, sacrifice

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Este trabajo está licenciado bajo la licencia Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 .

ISSN: 1579-8372 | eISSN: 2255-517X