Time to Kill Off Chivalry

A few days ago I wrote about the Necessity of Chivalry. That was C.S. Lewis talking about the ideal of turning brutal warriors into men who care about the world and people in it. That was medieval chivalry.

Now I’m thinking about killing off chivalry. Modern chivalry. The modern stuff is different from the medieval stuff.

Paul Sturtevant has an article that highlights the differences. Medieval chivalry was an attempt “to impose a culture of restraint on what often was a group of aristocratic thugs with something to prove.”

“Our contemporary ideology of “chivalry” can be traced to the explosion of medievalism in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century popular culture. Knighthood and chivalry became coupled with gentlemanly behaviour and the sexual politics of the day, and these values were expressed in neo-medieval art, novels, architecture and, eventually, film.”

Modern chivalry “has been pared back only to encompass a type of politeness consciously performed by men within heterosexual relationships.”

For most moderns, chivalry is “simply performed politeness.” Some people think it’s an important elegance. Some think it reflects a Victorian sexual ideology that damages relationships. You decide; just remember it’s not what our ancestors meant by the word chivalry.

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The age of chivalry is gone. — That of sophisters, economists, and calculators, has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.” — Edmund Burke (1790)

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