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Cultures courtoises en mouvement

Isabelle Arseneau
Francis Gingras

Discours et contre-discours de la courtoisie

The Evolution of Courtliness in Shota Rustaveli’s The Man in the Panther Skin: From Neoplatonism to Modernity

G. Koolemans Beynen

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Shota Rustaveli’s approximately 6,500 line epic poem, The Man in the Panther Skin (henceforth MPS), was written around 1200 AD in Georgia.1 We know little about Rustaveli but his poem has in Georgia the place that the Bible and Shakespeare have in English-speaking cultures. Georgians and foreign admirers of Rustaveli have always been puzzled why Rustaveli’s reputation has been restricted to Georgia; however, a few years ago the Georgian scholar Elguja Khintibidze discovered that one – maybe two – of the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher, Shakespeare’s colleagues and competitors, was based on the MPS. Moreover, this play, A King and No King, marks, along with their play Philaster, the beginning of the English tragicomedy, which may be Rustaveli’s contribution to English literature.2

Courtly Love in the Man in the Panther Skin

Rustaveli’s poem seems initially a typically courtly work: a noble lady, the crown-princess of Arabia, Tinatin, sends her less noble lover, Avtandil, the commander i...


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