The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book Love Cures

Love Cures

Healing and Love Magic in Old French Romance Laine E. Doggett
  • Copyright: 2009
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-03530-7
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-03531-4
  • Series Name: Penn State Romance Studies

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“In this appealing study, [Laine Doggett] traces romantic love as a form of intoxication back to the Middle Ages and endeavors to demystify the concept of love magic through an analysis of several romances in which love and healing are intertwined.”

What is love? Popular culture bombards us with notions of the intoxicating capacities of love or of beguiling women who can bewitch or heal—to the point that it is easy to believe that such images are timeless and universal. Not so, argues Laine Doggett in Love Cures. Aspects of love that are expressed in popular music—such as “love is a drug,” “sexual healing,” and “love potion number nine”—trace deep roots to Old French romance of the high Middle Ages. A young woman heals a poisoned knight. A mother prepares a love potion for a daughter who will marry a stranger in a faraway land. How can readers interpret such events? In contrast to scholars who have dismissed these women as fantasy figures or labeled them “witches,” Doggett looks at them in the light of medical and magical practices of the high Middle Ages. Love Cures argues that these practitioners, as represented in romance, have shaped modern notions of love. Love Cures seeks to engage scholars of love, marriage, and magic in disciplines as diverse as literature, history, anthropology, and philosophy.

Laine E. Doggett is Associate Professor of French at St. Mary’s College, Maryland.




1. Background Considerations

2. On Artifice and Realism: Thessala in Chrétien de Troyes’s Cligés

3. Tristan and Iseut:

Beyond a Symbolic Reading of Empirical Practice

4. Tristan and Iseut: Empirical Practice Amidst Competing Claims

5. Love and Medicine in the Roman de Silence

6. Reworked Elements in Amadas et Ydoine




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Strange Revelations

Magic, Poison, and Sacrilege in Louis XIV's France