Bernart de Ventadorn

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Bernart de Ventadorn (1140 - c.1180) is one of the most famous of the troubadours. Despite the fact that Dante Alighieri testifies that Guiraut de Bornelh was the most highly regarded troubadour at that time, and that Dante himself favoured Arnaut Daniel, the modern critic tends to find Bernart's inventiveness without resorting to obscurity sets him ahead of his contemporaries.

Little is known for certain of Bernart's life. One of the two vidas written about him extrapolates the following about him from his songs: He was said to come from Limousin, the son of a servant. His ability as a poet however earned him the honour of not only the Viscount of Ventadorn, but the Viscount's wife as well. Their mutual love was eventually discovered by the Viscount, who removed Bernart and kept his wife under lock and key. Bernart then travelled to the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine, but when Eleanor moved to England, Bernart found a new patron in Raymond V of Toulouse. After the count's death Bernart retired to a monastery. Unfortunately this story, romantic as it is, appears to be largely untrue.