A comment on Don Monson’s ‘Why is la Belle Dame sans Merci? Evolutionary Psychology and the Troubadours’

Below is a brief comment on Don A. Monson’s study Why is la Belle Dame sans Merci? Evolutionary Psychology and the Troubadours

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In Don Monson’s paper we read:

While I reject Monson’s presumption that psycho-sexual power of women was given natural expression in courtly-love language (actually the complete reverse is the case), he nevertheless outlines features of a psychological trope that still guide sexual relations today, as embedded in the European-derived tradition of chivalry and romantic love.

Monson’s belief arises from a blue-pill habit among evolutionary psychologists that places exaggerated emphasis on the Males Compete/Female Choose (MCFC) model of evolution. Steve Stewart-Williams’ challenged that Evopsych fixation and introduced the more human concept of Mutual Mate Choice (MMC) – a concept that supports my contention that the courtly love trope was responsible for exaggerating women’s sexual status.

Its almost as if Monson is asking us to amend C.S. Lewis’ famous characterization ‘The feudalisation of love’ to a reductionist evolutionary formula of ‘A love of feudalisation’ – ie. a formula assuming that males are simply designed to compete for women’s ultimate sexual choices. I reject this narrow explanation and hope that Monson doesn’t repeating it in his forthcoming book Eros and Noesis: A Cognitive Approach to the Courtly Love Literature of Medieval France.

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