I might want to refer to this later, so I’m cross-posting here a comment whichI made at Dalrock’s on his post “Riding to Lancelot’s Rescue”. He quotes C.S. Lewis:
They effected a change which has left no corner of our ethics, our imagination, or our daily life untouched, and they erected impassable barriers between us and the classical past or the Oriental present. Compared with this revolution the Renaissance is a mere ripple on the surface of literature. […] [A] glance at classical antiquity or at the Dark Ages at once shows us that what we took for ‘nature’ is really a special state of affairs, which will probably have an end, and which certainly had a beginning in eleventh-century Provence.
In “Masterpieces of Medieval Literature”, the author talks about this extensively; driving home the point that none of the surviving literature of the Germanic/Norse peoples deal with romantic feelings as a thing separate from sex. The only woman in Beowulf is Hrothgar’s wife–with whom Beowulf has no significant dealings–and Grendel’s mother. Beowulf kills her. Brynhildr is a significant character in the stories of Sigurd, but Sigurd’s attachment to her isn’t a religious-devotion-like romance.
In the Icelandic Eddas[2a], there are stories which include women who make large impact on the stories, but none of them have a purely romantic–by which I mean extra-sexual–element. There is a story about a great man named Gunnar who married a beautiful woman with “the eyes of a thief” and who brings about his death because he once slapped her for stealing. She had two previous husbands killed for the same offense.
However, there was a custom of the Germanic/Norse people which was activated by Romantic Fever and caused it to have a more deleterious effect than in southern Europe: Germanic/Norse and Celtic women had much greater freedom, authority, and strength than either the women of southern Europe, or those of the Near, Middle, and Far Easts.
Once Romantic Fever took over those peoples, pedastalization of women–and thus Feminism–was probably already an unavoidable symptom. Under the infection of religious-devotion to “love”, those Germanic/Nordics had beautiful, strong, independent demi-goddesses on their hands. In more Latin lands (Italy, France, etc.) Romantic Fever didn’t elevate women to such heights.[2b]
 This is significant, says Shutt, because only the most popular, the most retold, stories would have survived. The Germanic peoples were late to the written tradition and passed on their stories via an oral tradition. While it’s possible that at one time there existed stories with “romantic” elements, logic says that they weren’t popular, i.e., if they did exist, they didn’t resonate with the audience.
[2a] Because of it’s relative isolation from the rest of Europe, Iceland was less effected by European trends. These descendants of the Norse people (and some Irish) weren’t infected with Romance Fever as early, or for as long, as the Continentals. This allowed them to become literate, yet not become severely romantic. Meanwhile, in mainland Europe, Germanic traditions were infected. So while the same stories of the oral tradition live on for a bit, they were treated as vulgar and passe…sort of like the American Coastal Elite’s view of gun-toting Bible-thumpers.
[2b] We still see this today. My home, Texas, is to America what America is to the world. And it is absolutely lousy with strong, beautiful, independent women who are loud, obnoxious, and monstrously entitled–and the men who enable them. “Sassiness” is virulent. The majority are downright stiff-necked, crude, and ungrateful. Texans are, perversely, proud of this. Women like Sarah Palin are hugely popular down here, and seen as the epitome of conservative strength.
(This post was edited to correct attribution of the quote from Dalrock to Lewis.)