First Advisor

Gina L. Greco

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in French






Albigenses -- Southern France, Provenðcal poetry -- History and criticism -- Early works to 1800, Troubadours



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, 70, [4] p.)


This thesis presents an examination of the influence of Cathar philosophy, doctrine, and life style on selected works of troubadour poets. Whether Cathar ideology is revealed clearly, secretly, allegorically, symbolically, or not at all in the poetry of the troubadours, has been discussed and debated from a variety of angles by various scholars. There appears to be no completely convincing evidence either way. Some authors argue that the language of the troubadours was in fact the secret language of the Cathars. Others contend that the troubadours and the Cathars had very little to do with each other. Denis de Rougemont takes a more moderate position, arguing that the troubadours and the Cathars cannot be understood separately, considering they existed in the same place and time in history: specifically in Occitania from about 1150 to 1270. In this thesis I will attempt to draw comparisons and demonstrate links and similarities between the thought, doctrine and life style of the Cathars and the themes, images, and allusions in selected troubadour poetry. Several themes and ideologies which are intrinsic in Cathar belief seem not to be in conflict with symbols and themes in troubadour poetry. I will provide textual analysis of a variety of chosen poems by selected Provencal poets. The introduction and the chapter on Cathars in Languedoc offer historical information regarding the origins, geographical locations, social order, beliefs, doctrine, and everyday life of the Cathars. The chapter on the troubadours provides historical contexts as well as an explanation of the corpus and genres of their works. This thesis will attempt to link common themes found in the texts of the troubadour poetry to the ideas prevalent in Cathar belief. The themes of anti-clericalism, Love, and mysticism are outlined and explored. Disdain for and rejection of the Church of Rome coupled with strong sentiments of anti-clericalism are themes found in the works of the troubadours as well as in Cathar thinking. Concerning the attitude of Love, there was an imbedded bond between cortezia and the religious atmosphere among the Cathars. Mysticism, a quest for the ideal, provided a spiritualized and symbolic expression of love, ideas which are present in both the mystical theology of the Cathars and the language of the troubadours. Peire Cardenal and Guilhem Figuira demonstrate a moral and political outrage in the form of satirical and often violent but eloquent poetry directed at the clergy and the invading French from the North. Jaufre Rudel, whose language is less complicated, seems to derive his ideas about perfection and divine love from mystical themes common to Cathar theology. Dame Carenza, Ala!s and Iselda show evidence of gnostic allusions, while providing a mixture of colloquial and religious language.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL

Persistent Identifier