Sincerity in Love: From caritas to affectio maritalis

  • Graham Williams
Part of the New Approaches to English Historical Linguistics book series (NAEHL)


This chapter documents the development of sincere love as evidenced in epistolary and literary texts. Romantic love in particular was originally introduced through contact with Anglo-Norman culture, and genres such as romance forwarded the ideal of sincerity and its performative language under the rubric of courteous speech. Likewise, sincerity influenced styles of narration in love literature, a development that culminates in late medieval writers such as Chaucer (especially in Troilus and Criseyde). The chapter ends with a discussion of the influence this literature had on the language of fifteenth-century letters (e.g. from the Pastons, Stonors and Celys), and the way in which these writers appropriated scripts of sincerity in the pursuit of marital affection.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EnglishUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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