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Princesse lointaine

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Title: Princesse lointaine  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Courtly love, Stock characters, List of stock characters, Ivan the Fool, Good cop/bad cop
Collection: Courtly Love, Stock Characters
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Princesse lointaine

A princess lointaine or princesse lointaine, (in French, "distant princess") is a stock character from medieval romances. The romantic interest of many knights errant, she was usually a woman of much higher birth, often far distant from the knight, and usually wealthier than he was, beautiful, and of admirable character. Some knights had, indeed, fallen in love with the princess owing to hearing descriptions of her, without seeing her, as tales said Jaufré Rudel had fallen in love with Hodierna of Tripoli.

The term has been used subsequently to refer to women whose chief characteristic as love interests has been their unattainability.

In the analysis of Courtly Love:
"at times, the lady could be a princesse lointaine, a far-away princess, and some tales told of men who had fallen in love with women whom they had never seen, merely on hearing their perfection described, but normally she was not so distant. As the etiquette of courtly love became more complicated, the knight might wear the colors of his lady: where blue or black were sometimes the colors of faithfulness, green could be a sign of unfaithfulness. Salvation, previously found in the hands of the priesthood, now came from the hands of one's lady".

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